Rentals: Bringing Property Management Home to Work for You
The rental market has been on an upswing in the Twin Cities with properties being in demand and rents being on the rise. Plenty of people in this community have been homeowners, but what happens when it’s time to move in together and go from two homes to one? Do you sell or do you rent? What if an elder parent needs to move out of their home for assisted living or nursing home care? What can be done with a house if you have to relocate for a job? The answer lies in hiring a property management company.
A friend of mine recently went from managing his own rental to hiring professionals to do it and not only felt a huge weight lift from his shoulders when he learned about what he wouldn’t have to do any longer, but also felt his wallet expand a little when he learned where the professionals would price his place and how much more he could get for it on a monthly basis. Is hiring a property management company for you? What is there to know about it? I had a chance to do a Q&A with Kevin Ortner, CEO of Renters Warehouse, to learn about how Renters Warehouse manages properties based on its “4-Step Process” of getting the best price, finding the right tenants, handling the property management, and protecting against the unexpected.
What is Renters Warehouse and what area does it cover?
Kevin Ortner: Renters Warehouse was founded by Brenton Hayden in 2007 and is one of the fastest-growing, most-awarded, and highest-reviewed property management companies in America. We are also proud to be the largest in Minnesota. We manage over 10,000 properties nationwide and our team of professional landlords are dedicated to helping everyday homeowners lease and manage their residential real estate with confidence. We currently boast 28 franchises in over 15 states and growing.
What is included in hiring a property management company? Will I get out of fixing leaky faucets? How about shoveling snow?
KO: We work to collect your rent, in full and on time, every month. We coordinate all maintenance requests, including fixing those leaky faucets; however, the owner will be responsible for the cost of the repairs. We handle all legal paperwork and red tape and we assist with compliance. When necessary, we carry out evictions and enforce leases. Most importantly, we work closely with you to protect your property, 365 days out of the year.
What are the fees and how are they determined?
KO: Our pricing structure is based on the number of units, the length of the leases, and other factors. There are some very basic tables on our website showing the prices for tenant placement (one to two months rent), property management pricing ($50–80 per month), and curveball protection ($15–30 per month). Condos and houses are the same as far as fee is concerned, but there is a discount for having multiple units at the same location, up to as many as 50 units in a multi-unit dwelling.
What’s the best kind of property for a landlord? Is it just houses, or do condos work?
KO: Single family homes are the most popular, regardless of what type of building it is. The average renter is a family of four. It’s not just young adults who aren’t ready to commit and who move around a lot. The rental market is changing; everyone enjoys the freedom, but they want the benefits of owning, too.
What happens if I sell the property?
KO: If a person sells a home mid-lease, the homeowner has an opportunity to negotiate with the tenant. It’s a matter of breaking the lease. Renters Warehouse can help, but it is ultimately up to the negotiations with the tenant. We find that sales tend to be from property owner to property owner, not breaking any lease. And Renters Warehouse can assist so that people can sell to other investment property owners.
Before you sell, make sure you do the math first. A quick cash-on-cash analysis will tell you whether it really makes financial sense to sell. We offer a free rent vs. sell guidebook to help you assess your personal situation from a financial opportunity standpoint. If selling your home is the right option for you, RW Realty, our sister traditional real estate division, can help you sell and buy a new property.
If I have a home in another state, can Renters Warehouse help me with that?
KO: Of course! Renters Warehouse is the proud owner of 28 franchises in 15 states and counting. We’re actively adding additional locations across the country, so even if we’re not in your state now, keep checking back!
Because the GLBT community is a minority group that is not embraced by all Minnesotans, are there ways to protect a home from renters who might be anti-gay? How can this demographic protect itself in renting out its property?
KO: We absolutely abide by the federal fair housing laws, as well as all state and local anti-discrimination laws when connecting homeowners with renters. All real estate advertised by Renters Warehouse is subject to the federal Fair Housing Act, which makes it illegal to advertise “any preference, limitation, or discrimination because of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin, or intention to make such preference, limitation or discrimination.”
In addition, Renters Warehouse shall not refuse to rent, or discriminate in the terms, conditions or privileges of the tenancy, to any person due to his/her race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, status with regard to public assistance, handicap (whether physical or mental), sexual orientation, or family status. Renters Warehouse understands further that local ordinances may include other protected classes.
So, there are protections in place for both the property owners and the prospective tenants that there can be no discrimination based on sexual orientation. After that and our extensive background checking, there’s no way to know how someone will behave in their living space. We can’t really dig into how people think or feel. We have owners and tenants of all stripes. What Renters Warehouse does offer is to be the buffer between the two. By having a property management company, there is the option of anonymity. The owner may not be known by the tenant and the two might pass each other on the street without having any knowledge. Of course, if the tenant is doing something illegal on the property, having a property management company to enforce the lease is a benefit to the property owner. As the face of the landlord, we would find this out through our random and routine property inspections. And then we can go through the process to remove them from the home. The best background checks in the world are great, but we don’t always know what’s in their hearts and minds.
For more information about Renters Warehouse, go to www.renterswarehouse.com.