Group 15 is a full service real estate company in Charlotte, North Carolina. We always like talking to people who find us online because it means they are shopping around, and that’s smart. It’s interesting to hear how we compare to other companies and what we can do to be the best property management company in Charlotte and the surrounding area. Today, we’re sharing few things we do that sets us apart from our competition.
Creating Inspection Opportunities
One unique thing we do is to change the air filters on a regular basis for the tenants. We became tired of getting frustrated with residents who would not remember to change the filters. It became expensive for owners too, when thousands of dollars were required to repair air conditioning units. So we turned this into an opportunity. It gives us a nice friendly reason to go into the property with a free air filter for the tenants. It doesn’t feel like an intrusive inspection to them. We ask how everything is going, change the filter, and take a look around. We take some pictures and upload them to your web portal so you can see how your property looks.
Flexible Fee Options
We make money with our management fee as well as a marketing fee. You can have a higher management fee and a lower marketing fee or vice versa. We want to focus on what you need and have our services and prices make sense for you.
Licensed Real Estate Agents
We are licensed real estate agents. What this means for you is that when it’s time for the lease to renew, we reach out to tell you if the market will support a rent increase. We can also let you know what the neighbors are selling for so you can decide if you’d rather sell your property than continue renting it out.
Licensed Insurance Agents
We are also licensed insurance agents, which is helpful if there is a claim on your property. It’s also helpful for us to be involved in details like what breed of dog is allowed in your property and how long your home can be vacant before voiding your insurance policy. We are looking for a long term relationship with property owners and investors. If that sounds like a good fit for you and your Charlotte property management needs, please contact us at Group 15 Real Estate.
Absolutely, we have been advising investors on acquisitions for even longer than we have been managing rental property. We can refer to one of our great local preferred listing agents that specializes in the area where you would like to acquire your next investment. Just reach out to anyone on our staff and we will get this started for you.
Absolutely, we can refer to one of our great local preferred listing agents that specializes in the area where you need to sell. Just reach out to anyone on our staff and we will get this started for you.
Our full-service property management solution is designed to make rental property ownership completely effortless. We take care of all of the details to market and show your property, accepting and approving applications, negotiating and signing a lease, collecting the rent, dispatching maintenance, handling all of the issues that inevitably come up with tenants and rental properties, negotiating and signing lease renewals and everything. Our job is to free up your time to focus on other more important areas of your life and our job is to send you money. The only times we will bother you is for approving really big repairs, discussing the security deposit when the tenant moves out and to discuss anytime you are ready to sell or buy another property. That’s it! Effortless Property Ownership.
Yes, Group 15 Real Estate is licensed in both North Carolina and South Carolina. And actually, it is illegal in those states to offer property management services for others unless you are licensed, so make sure anyone you hire is licensed. We are also members of our industry trade organization, the National Association of Realtors - Property Management division. This allows us to stay up to date on all of the latest trends in our industry and pass that expertise on to our clients. We are BBB accredited. We are also licensed to sell insurance.
If your property was previously your personal residence, it is very important, once it becomes a rental to switch the insurance to a rental policy. This is very different from your homeowner’s policy and you do not want to give your insurance company any reason to deny a claim. Also, if your property is ever going to be vacant for more than two months, you also need to speak with your insurance provider about that and may need a special policy for this situation. Group 15 Real Estate is also licensed to sell insurance and we would be happy to review your policy at any time and advise or offer you a better policy or deal than your current coverage.
You can, but we strongly advise against it. If you must leave some personal property behind, only leave behind things which you are completely fine with them being lost or damaged. We are not saying that a tenant will purposely steal or damage the personal property, but “things happen” and then trying to blame the tenant for it never goes well. Also, if you must leave some personal property behind, you should do so in a shed that you will keep locked for the duration of the tenancy. But, you need to let us know this beforehand so we can clearly market the property as not including access to the shed.
Your tenant should have a great experience living in your property. Everything should be pristinely clean when they move in. Ideally the walls will be freshly painted and the carpet will be new or otherwise in good shape and recently steam cleaned. Everything should be functioning as intended, including working light bulbs in all of the sockets. This standard will attract the best tenants who will pay on time and take care of your property and, just as importantly, they will enjoy living in your property. If they enjoy the property, they will be very likely to renew. So, spend more money getting the property ready up front and take good care of your tenant and you will save a lot of money in the long run when those tenants renew and stay year after year. There is nothing more costly than a having a vacancy when a tenant does not renew the lease.
Group 15 Real Estate actually started as a Lease Purchase company. For a variety of reasons we determined this is not an ideal model for either landlord/sellers or tenant/buyers given the current laws. Here are two quick reasons: One, no matter what you write in the lease, it is illegal for a landlord to ever ask a tenant to repair anything. This does not fit well in the lease-purchase model where it makes more sense to ask a tenant to make most repairs. Two, no matter how well you write the lease, if you ever need to evict the tenant and the the tenant informs the magistrate this is a lease-purchase deal, it will most likely get sent to Superior Court and you will essentially need to foreclose on the tenant, instead of evict the tenant, which is a much longer and more expensive process. There are quite a few other reasons why this model is less than ideal and we would be happy to discuss them with you in more detail. Having said that, we are always happy to let a tenant know that you are interested in selling the property and if they are ever interested in buying it to let us know and we can help put that deal together.
Leasing, Move-in & Move-Out
When a tenant moves out, they should turn in all keys to the property. Most of the time you feel safe assuming that the tenant has turned in every key to the property they ever had made. But maybe they gave one to their neighbor or dog sitter and forgot about it. At this point, you have lost control over who has access to your property in the future. Not changing the locks is not worth this risk. The cost of changing the locks is a small price to pay for the ongoing security and peace of mind for your property and, most importantly, for your future tenants.
In this day and age, making sure all prospective tenants find your property on the internet is the easy part. The marketing strategy that matters the most is how we engage those prospective tenants once they find the property. All of the following strategies will help attract the most qualified tenants in the shortest amount of time:
- Property Condition: We will help you present your property in its ideal condition.
- Photos: We always use professional quality photos; the difference shows, just check out any of our currently available properties.
- Video: We post videos of walking through the property.
- Self-Guided Tour: We utilize special keyless smart locks that allows prospective tenants to tour the property at their earliest convenience, instead of waiting to schedule an appointment. This is done by recording the identity of the prospect and giving them a temporary code, which expires when they complete their tour.
- 24/7 Access: We employ multiple call centers that will allow tenants to call in and ask questions or apply for a property anytime, day or night.
In the markets we cover, prospective tenants look for properties on their own, without the help of an agent thus eliminating any value that MLS would otherwise offer. Furthermore, the internet syndication from MLS would actually interfere with our primary marketing plan and hinder our effective marketing strategy, which leases properties within 17 days, on average. Having said that, there are some unique properties, such as executive rentals, where we may make an exception and utilize MLS.
This is fine for you to personally post your property to Craigslist. Please let us know if you would like to do this and we will send you code for your property that you can post which will ensure that anyone who is interested in your property will reach out to us directly. Having said that, we are renting all of our properties within 17 days, on average, whether a landlord chooses to put the property on Craigslist or not; meaning, Craigslist does not provide any extra value to our marketing efforts.
The general rule of thumb is to provide an oven, but do not provide washer and dryer. Refrigerators can be provided, but are not always expected; we will help you think through which appliances make the most sense for your property. The most important thing to consider is that any appliances you provide you will also have to be responsible to maintain. For this reason, it sometimes makes sense to consider selling some of your appliances to your tenant, with the understanding that they can sell it back to you at the end of their lease. This way they are responsible to maintain the appliance if it ever breaks.
The short answer is yes. Over 70% of tenants have a pet, so by not allowing pets you have automatically limited yourself to less than 30% of prospective tenants. This means you are less likely to find the most qualified applicant and it will generally take longer to fill the vacancy. We understand there are some risks of potential pet damage and we will collect an additional $20/mo per pet to help offset those risks. We will also make sure that any pets are properly insured. Having said that, if you understand the risks and benefits and still do not wish to allow any pets at your property, no problem, we are happy to proceed with that plan as well.
We utilize a state of the art access system which grants prospective tenants immediate access to any of our available vacant units by simply proving their identity with a small credit card charge. They will be given a temporary code which grants them access to the property for one hour. This system is far superior than the old way of doing it where they would need to call and schedule an appointment for someone to come show them the property. This system takes far too long and in today’s fast-paced world where prospective tenants expect immediate results they will have moved on and rented another place sooner than the appointment can be scheduled.
There is no service we provide that is more critical than placing the best tenant in your property. It is for this reason we have carefully crafted a tenant qualification process which makes sure you get the best available tenant. Check out our Rental Application Guidelines page for more information.
Reviewing and approving the best applicant for your property is one of the most important things we do for you. In order to keep the tenant’s sensitive information private and to insure we are keeping you in compliance with Fair Housing Laws, we do not share the rental application with you.
This depends on which fee option you selected. Even if you selected a fee option that includes a leasing fee of 50% of the first month’s rent, there may also be other charges on your account for lawn care, utility bills, some make-ready or cleaning invoices and lock changes will likely add up to more than one month’s rent. This means that you are unlikely to have any rental proceeds the first month it is rented. Also, depending on the amount of those extra costs and if the tenant’s lease is prorated by starting in the middle of the month, then you are likely to receive less than a full draw, if any draw at all, in the second month. Also, bear in mind, that we pay out owner draws at the end of the month and guarantee it will arrive to you no later than the 7th of the following month. So, mostly likely your first owner draw will come within 6 - 12 weeks of renting the property, depending on the circumstances.
The short answer is no. The long answer is that over the years, section 8 and similar subsidized housing voucher programs, have become more and more challenging to work with. The inspections create burdensome hurdles, even if your property is in good condition. But, most important, as a government agency they can act rather arbitrarily and withhold rent for erroneous reasons and then take months to correct the error. Furthermore, as a business, if we have multiple section 8 properties, they can unilaterally take the rent from one property and apply it to another which adversely affects our landlords and can put us out of legal compliance, ironically.
Group 15 Real Estate holds the tenant’s security deposit in a trust account. These accounts are kept intact for the duration of the lease and will be disbursed once the tenant has vacated the property.
If a tenant is going to move out, or if a landlord does not wish to renew with the tenant, then our lease requires that either party give notice at least 60 days prior to the lease end date. Once proper notice has been given, Group 15 Real Estate will schedule a move-out inspection for the first business day following the lease end date. Once we have the results of the inspection we will discuss the results and any applicable repair quotes with you to approve a plan to get your property on the market and re-rented as quickly as possible.
Group 15 Real Estate will conduct a move-out inspection to determine any repairs that we think can be associated with tenant neglect or damage. Once we have worked with you to approve a disbursement plan we will implement that plan right away to get your property on the market and re-rented as quickly as possible.
Most instances of tenant neglect and damage are fairly indisputable and easily handled. Anything involving walls, floors or cleaning tend to fall in a gray area where we will make a judgment call in our professional expertise and experience on what solution would be best for you in terms of fair compensation while avoiding a costly lawsuit.
We want our landlords to feel informed, but without taking up too much of your time. One of the primary reasons you should hire a property manager is because you have more important ways to spend your time than dealing with the day to day business of your property and tenant. Here are some of the primary ways you will hear from us:
- Marketing Updates: When your house is vacant you should expect to hear from us once per week to give you feedback on how the marketing is going until the property is leased.
- Automated Emails: We have a few system generated automated emails that will be sent to you when triggered by an important event. We try to limit these to the most important items so you are not overwhelmed with emails on everything we do to your property on a day to day basis.
- Monthly Statements: When your property is income producing, you will receive monthly statements to your portal that show all of your income and expenses for the month.
- Maintenance: We will automatically take care of any maintenance issue up to $400 so as not to take up your time with basic maintenance issues. But, if an issue is going to be more expensive or more complicated in some other way, then we will reach out to you. If you have a home warranty, you can also expect to be involved as needed.
- Lease End Date: We will reach out to you at least two months prior to your lease end date to update you on any lease renewal activities. This is also a good time for you to let us know if you have any interest in selling your property instead of renewing the lease. We will also be in touch with you after a tenant moves out to go over the move-out inspection and security deposit recommendations.
- HOA and other randomness: You may get pulled into conversations with your HOA or other things that may need your direct involvement, but we will limit this as much as possible.
You are certainly welcome to reach out to anyone on our staff about anything at any given time! Having said that, you have an assigned property manager that is your primary point of contact and handles all of the day to day happenings with your property. You should keep their email and direct phone line handy; if you are uncertain who this person is, just ask.
You also have an assigned leasing agent that is a licensed real estate agent. This is most likely the same person that originally signed you on with Group 15 Real Estate. Their job is to market your property when their is a vacancy. They will also help you when you are ready to buy a new property or sell one of your properties.
The main reason you hired Group 15 Real Estate is so that we would manage your property and you would free up your time to do other things. If your tenant ever tracks you down and reaches out to you, please just politely remind them that you have hired Group 15 Real Estate to handle all aspects of your property and then ignore them after that. Beyond freeing up your time, we are also much more effective at managing your property when a tenant and landlord are not in direct communication, in fact our lease and authorization agreement disallow it.
In addition to normal move-in and move-out processes, we also visit the property once every quarter. We are very proud of this service and think it is one of the best and most valuable that we offer. This service provides the following:
- Site Visit: We do a quick walk-through of the property and take about ten to fifteen photos. We are primarily looking for big red flags, such unauthorized pets, evidence of smoking and property damage.
- Air Filters: We inform the tenants it is ultimately their responsibility to keep clean air filters in the HVAC returns. However, the risk of them not doing so is not worth the potentially thousands of dollars of damage to your HVAC system. So, while we are there we check all of your air filters for quality 90-day filters. This also is a great service to the tenant and they appreciate us stopping by.
- Recommendations: While we are there we will keep an eye out for any proactive maintenance that we recommend to protect the long-term value of your property.
Our lease has the tenant responsible for maintaining the lawn. Understand that from a tenant’s perspective this means the only thing they will do is mow the grass. Most tenants are not going to take the time to manage weeds, overseed, water, mulch, trim the shrubs, bushes and ornamental trees, edge the driveway and the like. After a couple of years, your yard will look overgrown and it can have an impact on the value of your property when it comes time to sell. Most landlords understand this and they are fine with the benefit analysis. However, some of our landlords would prefer that we hire a landscape company to set up an annual contract to maintain and improve the value of their property. Under those circumstances, we will negotiate with the tenant to increase the rent to offset some of the expense of the landscaper. But, the landlord pays most of the bill and this is worth it for those landlords to maintain the value of their property. Let us know if you would like a quote on an annual contract.
It depends on the status of your property:
- It is vacant when you initially hire us and utilities are in your name: In this case, we ask that you keep them in your name until it is leased.
- During tenancy: The tenant is responsible for all utilities, except for any the HOA maintains.
- It is vacant after a tenant moves out: We will put the utilities in our name and pass the expense to your account with us. If your property is in an area where we do not maintain relationships with the utility service providers, then we will let you know that and ask you to turn the utilities on in your name.
Some other companies will use a lease that requires the tenants to clean the gutters. But, this would come as a surprise to those tenants and more importantly, we think it is unwise to ask a tenant to get on a ladder and risk falling and suing the landlord. Also, gutters are a simple, but important part of your property’s roof system that will help protect your soffit and fascia from rotting, so we think it is really important that we control the process to confirm they are done professionally to avoid costly repairs to your property in future years. Group 15 Real Estate hires a local professional to clean your gutters and while they are there, they will also make any minor repairs to the gutters, such as adjusting the pitch and securing any loose attachments. They will also provide a report of any further recommendations.
It is the tenant’s responsibility to change the air filters as needed. However, Group 15 Real Estate will visit the property at least once every quarter to also check the air filters. This gives you peace of mind that your HVAC system is being properly cared for. Also, while we are there, we will also do a brief walk-through of the property, snap a few photos and send you a report so you can know how the tenant is taking care of your property.
The owners of Group 15 Real Estate are convinced that having your unit serviced and the coils cleaned at least once per year will not only improve the performance of the unit (good for the tenants) but will also make the unit last longer (good for you!). Also, by having it checked out proactively, this should limit potential emergency calls of the unit needing repair. Limiting those service calls will make for a better experience for the tenant and more likely to renew. Let us know if we can put you on a plan for this valuable annual service.
The tenant is informed on the lease that they are not permitted to use the fireplace unless they first pay to have a chimney sweep service the fireplace. Having said that, it would not be surprising for a tenant to overlook this responsibility and use the fireplace anyway. For this reason, we do recommend that you have a chimney sweep clean and inspect the chimney to give a green light on using the fireplace. The cost of the service is well worth the peace of mind and avoidance of the risk of a property fire. Let us know if you would like us to send a chimney sweep to your property at any time.
They are legally required at your property. For carbon monoxide detectors we will make sure there is at least one CO detector on each level of your property. For smoke detectors we will use 10-year lithium battery, tamper proof smoke detectors and will make sure you have at least one on each level, at least one in each bedroom, and one in the hallways outside of the bedrooms. If at any time your property does not meet this standard, we will automatically install the necessary detectors and bill this to your account; unless it can be shown that they were already there and a tenant removed them, in which case we will bill the tenant’s ledger.
Trees can do costly damage if they fall on your property, even if in the form of an insurance deductible and increased premiums for the claim. Also, to help with pest control it is also important to make sure there aren’t any limbs touching or very near the property. Even though we are not arborists, we try to do a good job of looking for any unhealthy or dead trees or limbs that are hanging over your property and will make recommendations to you if we think any of the trees need to be cut back or removed.
- What’s the big deal? This is one of the biggest dilemmas you will face. The problem is that most tenants have previously rented an apartment, where every unit is painted between every tenant. It is cost effective for apartments to do so with an on-site crew, paint sprayer and a pretty bad paint job, they just quickly go in and spray the whole place. So, tenants expect the same experience with individually owned rental houses and townhouses. The problem for the landlord is the paint job will generally cost $2,000 - $3,000 on average, which may represent two to three months of rental income. Assuming you only turn the property over once every four or more years, then the painting expense is fine. But, if you have a new tenant only one or two years later, then the paint job is very costly to your average yearly revenue.
- So, what do I do? Group 15 Real Estate tries to help mitigate this problem by limiting how many nail holes a tenant can put on any given wall and the size of the nail hole. This helps, but isn’t perfect as tenants do not always stay within those boundaries and enforcing it is challenging. Group 15 Real Estate is also sensitive to the cost issue and when we do a move-out inspection we will only recommend painting when necessary. So, you can know, if we recommended it, then it is needed. Ideally, if it fits in your budget, you will paint between every tenant.
- Can I hold the tenant responsible and charge their security deposit? You can charge a tenant for a repair if they put a hole in the wall that requires a patch (around the size of a fist or larger). But, anything else, such as small nail holes and scuff marks are legally considered wear and tear and the landlord’s responsibility.
- Can I just “touch-up” paint? This is the dream solution every landlord hopes will work. The problem is that it never does. Even if you use the exact same paint, the problem is that the paint on the walls has been faded by the sun and wear and is now a slightly different hue than the paint match you might purchase. Inevitably, touch-uptouch up paint job will have a “camouflaged” appearance. This often looks even worse than if you had not painted at all and just left the small holes on the wall.
Carpet: We require all of our properties to have professionaly steam cleaned carpets between tenants. The lease requires all tenants to have the carpets steam cleaned and provide us with a receipt (or ask us to have it done on their behalf). By presenting the carpet in its best condition to the tenant, we can then hold them to the same standard of cleanliness when it is returned. Carpets also get worn down and fray over time from normal foot traffic, this is not a tenant responsibility. Aside from cleaning, tenants can also be held responsible for obvious and egregious stains and tears in the carpet.
Hardwoods: Hardwoods are even trickier. Every hardwood floor will get minor scratches and scuffs on it over time from normal wear and tear. If there are clear gouges (for example, where a floor was not properly protected from a bed) or concentrated scratches (for example, by a dog clearly scratching by a door), the tenant can be held responsible for this by coming up with a reasonable cost of refinishing the room in question.
Laminate: Laminate floors may be the trickiest. This is because carpets can usually be cleaned, or in some cases patched. Hardwoods can generally be refinished one room at a time and keep the cost to the tenant reasonable. But, laminate cannot be repaired or patched in any way. If it gets damaged, then you generally need to replace the entire floor. But, it may not seem reasonable to charge the tenant for replacing an entire floor after it has been damaged in one spot. Thankfully laminate is the most durable floor and damage is least common, but water is its enemy and water damage can happen. We handle each such instance as a unique case and will guide you through recommendations specific to your situation, should it arise.
Linoleum: Linoleum has all of the same problems of laminate in that it cannot be patched. Thankfully it is also durable, but can tear, especially if an appliance is dragged across. Thankfully it is the least expensive flooring option and in limited areas and problems are easily resolved.
When you first make your property available for rent, you will be responsible for having it thoroughly cleaned and presenting it in its best possible condition, which we will do on your behalf. This helps attract the most qualified tenant in the quickest time. Once a tenant vacates, they are responsible to clean and if the job is not thorough in some specific area then we will send out a cleaner and charge the tenant’s security deposit. We will also do walk-through of the property prior to a new tenant moving in. If the property has been vacant for a few weeks, it is normal that there may be a few cobwebs, dust, some foot traffic dirtiness and the like. In which case, we will do another cleaning and charge your account. This allows us to present the property in its best condition and give the tenant a positive move-in experience. This will remind them that you really care about your property and their rental experience and they will be more likely to renew the next year.
Non-Routine Maintenance & Repairs
Tenants may submit a work order 24/7. We encourage them to submit it to us in writing, but they can also call, especially if it is an emergency. We are backed by a call center specifically equipped to troubleshoot and triage all maintenance calls. Our goal with maintenance is to protect your asset while keeping the tenant happy. Happy tenants renew their leases. Renewing leases saves a landlord thousands of dollars by avoiding a vacancy. The first way we keep a tenant happy is by providing them lots of communication about their maintenance request. The second way we keep them happy is, if it is a request that is approved, sending a repair technician to their house as quickly as possible.
Tenants are encouraged to submit their request on our website which then gives them the ability to chat with us online for status updates. Our objective is to resolve tenant maintenance requests as quickly as possible, while also respecting the difference between needs, wants and the gray area in between. We will always try to gather information from the tenant and, when possible, coach a solution without dispatching a technician.
Group 15 Real Estate uses a best-in-class answering service to handle all of our maintenance calls and dispatch during normal hours, after-hours, including emergencies.
Our objective is to not take up any more of your time than absolutely necessary. With this goal in mind, we are going to make every reasonable effort to make prudent maintenance decisions on your behalf. We will only take up your time if it is likely the maintenance repair will likely exceed $400 or if it is some other unusual situation.
We do not obtain multiple bids because it unnecessarily extends the time it takes to execute a repair. Also, by maintaining loyal relationships with vendors and giving them a lot of business it allows us to expect the fastest service they can provide and to ask them to do certain types of repairs they would not provide to the general public (such as small repairs below their minimum threshold). However, we are sensitive that we also need to pass on fair prices to our landlords. Group 15 Real Estate, along with our best-in-class maintenance dispatch vendor, has extensive experience with every type of repair all throughout the area and how much it should cost. This experience and expertise affords us a deep understanding if our vendors are continuing to provide fair pricing or not. If their prices ever start to creep up, we replace them with an appropriate vendor.
The landlords that most appreciate our level of service are landlords that do not want to be so involved that they consider sending their own vendors or doing their own repairs. This is because we design all of our processes with the goal of freeing up your time without concern for the small details of your rental property. Group 15 Real Estate will not dispatch any vendors besides those that are properly insured and have been vetted to work with our internal processes. You may directly dispatch your own vendors or do your own repairs, but you will need to manage the process entirely.
Group 15 Real Estate is not a maintenance company, does not try to be a maintenance company and does not try to make money on maintenance. We do, however, utilize several best-in-class add-ons including a dispatch vendor, call center, communication app and website beyond the normal tenant portal. This extra layer of service is what makes us the premier property management company for tenant and landlord experience when dealing with maintenance issues. Those services come at a cost and Group 15 Real Estate charges a fee for each maintenance work order of 15% of the vendor’s invoice to cover the cost of these excellent resources. We are confident that those fees pay for themselves when it comes time for the tenant to renew, and because of their excellent experience with our maintenance department they will be more likely to renew their lease, saving you thousands of dollars in vacancy and turn costs.
Most management companies are going to charge a fee for property maintenance. They need to cover their own costs, and some property managers will use maintenance and repairs to make a profit. Owners sometimes ask why we charge maintenance fees on top of the property management fee we already charge. It’s a fair question. For more details on this question, please check our blog post.
We really hope you don’t! The idea of a home warranty company sounds great if it worked the way you imagine it should, but it rarely does.
Coordinating maintenance with a home warranty company often causes more problems than it solves. First, getting them on the phone is extremely difficult and you generally have to remain on hold for hours at a time when trying to relay the initial request. Then, they never respond in a timely fashion. When they finally do respond it is inevitably a “he said, she said” between the resident and the home warranty company and the dispatched vendor.
Next, they deny service either on grounds of lack of maintenance or abnormal wear and tear. When it comes to exclusions and small print, warranty contracts say a claim can be denied for lack of maintenance, improper maintenance, improper installation, pre-existing problems, code violations and numerous other reasons.
The contracts come with loopholes. You need to carefully read your service agreement to determine what is and what isn’t covered. Coverage for plumbing, for example, typically ends at your home’s foundation, so leaks or breakages beyond that would be your responsibility. “Pre-existing” problems typically aren’t covered, nor are breakdowns that result from poor maintenance or improper installation. The contract also may require that a system be upgraded to current building code standards — at the homeowner’s expense — before they agree to consider repairs. People who have had problems with the home warranty companies say that the more expensive the repair or replacement, the more likely home warranty companies are to invoke these exclusion clauses.
You don’t have control over who does the work. The home warranty provider contracts with local service companies to perform the actual inspections and repairs. You don’t get to choose and scheduling repairs can sometimes be a trial, often taking weeks to finally resolve, meanwhile, the tenant becomes very upset. The service technician may also try to sell you unneeded services.
The bottom line is that using a home warranty company will inevitably upset your tenant and make them less likely to renew at the lease renewal and will cost you thousands of dollars in vacancy and turn costs.
Property Management & Rent Collection
Most often HOA violations will be sent to the landlord directly, instead of to us. So, please let us know as soon as you ever receive one. We will take over from there and warn the tenant that they need to address the concern to avoid getting fined, as prescribed in their lease. The vast majority of the time the tenant addresses the concern, we let the HOA know and everything is fine. Every now and then the tenant may be slow to respond and it requires more oversight for us to get it resolved, but this is very rare. Either way, you can rest assured that we will take care of everything.
Our custom leases are to automatically renew for an additional year with a 5% increase in the rental rate. If either you or your tenant want something other than that to happen, then the lease requires notice at least 60 days prior to the lease end date. The 60 days is a very critical date; once we are past that date, the automatic renewal is triggered and it will require an agreement from everyone to do something other than what the lease mandates.
The tenant may give notice because they plan to vacate, they want to negotiate a rental rate that will be less than the automatic 5% increase, or because they want to negotiate a term that will be different than the automatic one-year renewal.
You may want to give notice because you do not wish to renew with this tenant, you are planning to sell the property, you may want to increase the rent even more than the automatic 5% rental rate, or because you want to negotiate a different term length other than the automatic one-year renewal. Just reach out to anyone on our team at least 60 days prior to the lease end date if you want to discuss those options.
We give our tenants a lot of convenient options to pay the rent. Of course, they can mail or drop off rent at our office, like the old days. But, most of our tenants take advantage of paying the rent online and can even set up an automatic draft for each month. We also give them a great option where they can pay the rent at their local 7eleven or Family Dollar!
Landlord Income & Financial Statements
We will send you an automated email for you to login to your owner portal. The first thing you will want to do is sign up for direct deposit:
- Next to “My Contact Information” click “View Detail”
- Click “Edit Payment Account”
- Once you enter your bank account information it will ask you “Do you wish to change the method of how you receive Owner Draw funds?” Click Yes.
- Change Draw Payment Method from “Check” to “E-Check” and you are signed up!
If you do not sign up for direct deposit, then we will mail the check to you on whatever address you provided to us on your intake forms.
Once signed with Group 15 Real Estate, you will receive an email with login instructions to your portal with relevant documents, financial statements and other communication.
- “My Account” Tab: Welcome page that shows anything that may need your attention, a place for you to update your contact information, as well as interact with us through online conversations. From this tab, the first thing you will want to do is sign up for DIRECT DEPOSIT:
- Next to “My Contact Information” click “View Detail”
- Click “Edit Payment Account”
- Once you enter your bank account information it will ask you “Do you wish to change the method of how you receive Owner Draw funds?” Click Yes.
- Change Draw Payment Method from “Check” to “E-Check” and you are signed up!
- “Statements” Tab: Your most important page to access the following:
- Monthly rental owner statements
- Balance Summary with quick financial snapshot
- Record of Draws and Contributions. You may one day wonder when to expect your latest owner draw and it would be best to go here first to see when we posted your last owner draw and from there you can reasonably expect it would post to your own bank account or mailbox within about 7 business days.
- Make an Owner Contribution. At some point you may have a particularly large repair and we may ask you to make an owner contribution, which you can do from this page, once you have set up a bank account.
- Please note that once a monthly owner statement is posted to your portal you are responsible for reviewing all charges and bringing any potential issues to our attention within 21 days. Beyond that time you accept and Group 15 Real Estate assumes all accounting is accurate and closes the monthly books.
- “Reports” Tab: Shows any custom reports we may have published to your account.
- “Bills” Tab: All bills on your account; usually bills will be paid out of owner proceeds we have on hand, unless we specifically ask you to make an owner contribution.
- “Maintenance” Tab: All work order details on your property.
- “Documents” Tab: Storage of all important documents related to your property.
The first page of the owner statement is a quick summary of the month. The Income is all funds received on the property- typically Rent collected. The Expenses are charges that were incurred on the property throughout the month. Expenses will be deducted from the Income. Contributions will be any additional income received for the property, most often from the Owner, usually to pay for additional expenses that the rent is unable to cover. These funds will be added to the Income. Typically, Income LESS Expenses PLUS Contributions will give you the amount that is due to the owner at the end of the month. This calculation will then be the DRAW (the amount sent to the owner). Occasionally, the tenant may make an early rent payment for the following month, or funds are being withheld to pay for upcoming expenses. These amounts would make up the ENDING BALANCE. This is the amount that is not paid out to the owner in their DRAW, therefore it is still showing as available funds. You may also see an UNPAID BILLS balance, which would be deducted from the ENDING BALANCE. If there are no available funds, this would be deducted as soon as INCOME is received on the property.
The second page is just a snapshot of the Owner's Equity, or OWNER DRAW.
The third and subsequent pages are the detail pages. This will itemize all categories from Page 1. The first category is INCOME. As mentioned above, Income is typically RENT, and this page will show the date the payment was made, the payer, any details related to the payment, and the amount paid. The next category is EXPENSES. Here you will see Management Fees, Quarterly Inspections, Evictions, Repairs, or other expenses for your property. These amounts are shown as positive numbers, but keep in mind that the total EXPENSES will be deducted from the INCOME. You may also see reimbursements from the tenant for items that were charged and paid by the tenant. For example, if a tenant is being evicted, Group 15 will charge the owner for the eviction cost, but this is ultimately the responsibility of the tenant, and once the tenant pays, this expense is reimbursed to the owner. This reimbursement will show as a negative number under EXPENSES, but understand that it translates as a positive reimbursement to the owner. You may also see UNPAID BILLS in this category, and lastly an accounting of the SECURITY DEPOSIT being held on the property.
Group 15 Real Estate will send you a year end statement that will show all of your income and expenses for the year related to your rental properties which you can use when filing your taxes. As required by the IRS, we will also send you and file a 1099 reporting your rental income for the year.