Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What will my vacancy rent for?
A: Determining market rent is based on data compiled by us for you. We review current market conditions, comparable properties now being rented, comparable properties just rented in our portfolio and the overall condition of the property. We provide a rent range to you based on the above information. We make recommendations as to needed (or unneeded as the case may be) maintenance prior to marketing the property. We explain the fact that if the property is listed at the highest range, it attracts the lowest quality tenant (who is never accepted at the more competitively priced properties). If an owner chooses a reasonable asking rent and property is presented in its best condition, this generally leads to a long term, good tenancy in the shortest period of marketing time. Many of the large online real estate listing services do not have accurate data so it always better to consult a local professional who is more familiar with the ever-changing terms of the market place.
Q: How long will it take to rent my property?
A: The average time on the market is between two and four weeks, depending on several variables. Those include timing of the vacancy (August best month-December worst month), overall condition of the property and the asking market price. We will make recommendations after we ascertain the market response to the property, which may include weekly reductions of the asking price until a qualified candidate is found.
Q: How do you screen for good tenants?
A: First and foremost, we adhere to all fair housing regulations in protecting your investment and leading to a fair marketplace for tenants. We will advise you along the way as to how that affects your property. By published policy, all applicants within a rental group over the age of eighteen must complete an application and have a credit report run. The application process is simple and always available to prospects through our website. We check all past landlord history, confirm employment and income and review the application for past pet history as well as number of occupants. If an owner is allowing pets, we require pet owners to undergo an additional professional screening of their animals.
Q: How is advertising handled?
A: As part of the professional service offered to you through our company, the property is photographed by us and sent out through our robust website to all the large online real estate listing services. Further, it appears on our website for any and all prospects looking in the rent range to consider.
Q: What should I do to my property to prepare it for a new resident?
A: A good standard to use when making decisions about maintenance needed prior to marketing a rental property is to first consult a management professional. The second standard should be about how you want your property returned to you after a tenancy; the initial condition of property lets the tenant know what your standard of care is and leads to a better long-term tenancy. Your management professional will be able to deliver qualified maintenance personnel who may save you thousands of dollars of upfront costs.
Q: What length of lease do you recommend?
A: One year is our general recommendation. It eliminates any short-term tenants that you may get if you offer a month to month residency and it helps to eliminate additional make ready costs that occur with every turn over of tenants. We strive to achieve the longest tenancy possible for your property in the screening process. The average tenancy for the area is eighteen months.
Q: How is maintenance handled?
A: When the management contract is executed with our company, you agree to deposit an owner reserve with us that limit the amount of maintenance we are allowed to approve without contact with you. This helps us be the most responsive we can and helps save you additional costs with repeated follow-ups when the job most often can be completed in one service call. If the maintenance request is for a larger repair, we will contact you and work through the job together. Tenants appreciate our rapid response through our automated work orders integrated into our company website. This affords us good tracking as well.
All of our maintenance is provided through outside contractors whom we have long term relationships with and who provide excellent service to you.
Q: How are emergency calls dispatched?
A: All of our professional staff review maintenance calls during weekends and holidays. We cover for each other during vacation and sick times. We have a procedure in place for all emergency calls, which are dispatched out immediately to the property manager on call.
Q: What happens when a tenancy goes bad and the rent is unpaid?
A: In our initial meeting with you, we review the worst-case scenario, which is when a good tenancy goes bad. As it involves human beings and things beyond their control do happen, we have policies in place that protect your interests. The most important aspect of this situation is knowledge and timing. With our company, you have long-term professionals well versed in this arena. We serve our own 3 day notices which saves you money. We respond quickly and we have a deeply experienced eviction company at your disposal. You pay the legal costs but the deposit helps offset those. We appear in court on your behalf; we testify in open court and we work with the unpaid tenants to achieve a vacancy as quickly as possible. We go to the property with law enforcement and a locksmith and recover the property for you. All of this extra time and expertise by us is included in your management fee. If nothing unusual happens during the eviction, it takes approximately forty days to complete. You want professionalism and you get it from us in the worst-case scenario when you need it the most. We also have an insurance company recently available to you to help offset the lost rent as well as potential damages. Ask us about Surevestor.
Q: Can you help me if I already have a tenant in place?
A: Yes, our services are available to you with the existing tenant in place. We will work to incorporate our policies into your rental agreement to further protect you, if needed.
If you are in the middle of an unpaid rent situation, we may need to add additional cost to our services to get the property vacant for you. This will be determined when we review the property and the individual situation.
Q: Who pays for repairs when a tenant moves out?
A: We are required by law to provide a pre-inspection inspection to tenants prior to move out at their request. During that inspection we give the tenants the list of remedies needed to be done and openly visible during their inspection for them to receive a full refund of their deposit. We follow up with a list of costs related to that inspection. During the final inspection completed once the property is vacant, a determination is made of the remaining repairs (if any) needed, as to what is to be charged to the tenant. Normal wear and tear is never a cost to be paid by a tenant and this includes painting if the tenancy exceeded six months. If we placed the tenant in the property, a extremely detailed move-in inspection was completed with photos prior to the tenant taking possession and this is referenced carefully in the final determination of what is to be charged to tenant and what is to be paid by the owner.
Q: What bills can you pay and when? Is any of this tax deductible?
A: We can pay any expenses that you request us to pay. If you want us to pay your mortgage payment, you will need to increase your reserve on account in order for the payment to always be on time. If we are paying property taxes for you, we accrue the funds needed spread out over several months until due. Any normal monthly reoccurring bills, we pay from the rent. As far as tax questions, you should first consult your professional tax consultant for confirmation of any information provided to you. Our costs as well as most general maintenance, insurance and mortgage interest are considered deductible expenses. There are limitations within the law and again, your tax consultant is the best person to address this with you.
Q: Can I get my statements and payments online?
A: Yes, we have an excellent software system that provides all the information that you would want to see on a regular basis, including receipts and expenses as well as invoices. We can ACH to your account and you can expect to receive your funds between the seventh to the tenth of the month depending on holidays and weekends.
Q: Who holds the security deposit?
A: Aborn Properties retains all security deposits as a means to make your property more rent-able and to further protect you. In the initial renting period, prospects often offer concerns of what happens to their deposit once it is paid and they are reassured when told the account in which it is held is regulated and audited by the State of California. Further their deposit is not subject to any attachment that may occur with an owner held deposit.
Q: What liabilities do I have and how can I protect myself?
A: As a landlord in the State of California, you are a large target. Your best protection against liability is significant insurance. We require that you name us an additional insured to mitigate your responsibility to protect us while managing your property. You should consider an umbrella liability policy over all properties you own in this state as well as your regular policies. We also have a company available who can insurance against lost rent and damages from a tenancy gone bad.
Q: How often do you check our properties?
A: As we are not qualified home inspectors, we walk a careful line between protecting your property and respecting the tenant’s right to privacy under California law. We do drive bys to periodically check the exterior. We give our cards to the neighbors also as a means to monitor activity at the property. We like to enter the properties prior to a new lease being executed and this gives us an informal opportunity to ascertain the overall condition of the property before we execute a new lease. We enter with a formal notice if we have any reason to expect a violation of the rules such as adding an unlawful pet or additional residents. This triggers a demand to correct the violation immediately. We document the annual inspections for later reference with the ongoing tenancy.
Q: Why should I choose Aborn Properties over another company?
A: Our company is the ONLY Company in Santa Clara County that has on its staff two-property managers with the highest individual professional designation offered in the industry, Master Property Manager. Further, there are three brokers in the company as well as a Past National President of the National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM). The company is over four decades duration and offers the greatest professional expertise a client could find in a local firm. We are proud of our reputation in the industry but take more pride in the quality of clients who choose to affiliate with us.
Q: How long is our management agreement?
A: Our agreements are of twelve months duration but if you are unhappy with our services, we offer you a thirty-day cancellation.
Q: Do you have references?
A: Yes and we are happy to provide them to you.
Q: How do I get started?
A: Please contact us as soon as you are ready to make a decision and we are at your disposal for a future professional relationship leading to your long-term satisfaction of our services.