Answers to your common questions
What can I get for rent? Can you cover my mortgage and other expenses?
We are more than happy to speak with you and take a look at your property to determine the fair market rental value. You can use our free rental analysis tool
as a starting point.
If you recently purchased your property and your loan amount is 70% or greater of the purchase price, more frequently than not, you will have some cash outflow in most months. Here are some factors you may not have considered that are additional financial benefits even if you don’t cover the cost of your mortgage: 1) our services are tax deductible (along with repairs, mortgage interest, insurance, etc.), 2) you may be eligible for additional tax benefits such as depreciation (depending on your personal financial situation, this can total several thousand dollars per year), 3) a tenant paying down the balance on your mortgage each month is magical, and 4) if the market appreciates at all, it will often more than cover any cash you had to pay out of your pocket.
How much will this cost me?
We offer several levels of service. Please check out our plans and pricing here
. If this is your first time renting a property, you may not be aware that there are typically other expenses in maintaining your home as a rental property such as maintenance, lock changes, etc. We are happy to discuss these in more detail over the phone or in-person as they may relate to your specific property.
How will you make sure I get a well-qualified tenant who is going to take care of the property and pay rent on time?
There are several factors that lead to placing a great tenant in your property: 1) we present your property both online and in-person in a way that shows well and attracts tenants who are selective about their living environments, 2) we have some of the most strict screening criteria in the area, 3) because we require tenants to come up with a higher than usual deposit to secure the property, prospects who don’t have much saved up self-select out, and 4) we are rigorous about our routine property evaluations, we take care of issues right away and reset expectations with residents.
All property management companies look the same and I assume they are the same; how do I tell if you are any good?
We know you have many options when choosing someone to care for what may be one of your most valuable assets. Our happiest clients tell us they love working with us because they are extremely confident that their property is being maintained as well or better than if they were living there. They know we have the best-in-industry tenant screening and are financially in alignment with their pocket. They love that we’re transparent, knowledgeable, and a one-stop-shop for everything for their property. And lastly, they can relax being very hands-off. If all you want is someone to collect rent and post some ads online, chances are pretty good we won’t be what you’re looking for. However, if you want a professional who helps protect and build your wealth through your property, it probably makes sense for us to talk.
How does this work (timeline, major steps, my involvement)? What are the next steps?
Every client and property is unique. However, most of our client engagements follow the following outline:
- We chat on the phone and/or in person to make sure we both think Sunnon is a good fit for you and your property. We can send you the sample paperwork if we both think it’s a good fit.
- We visit the property (when possible) to make any recommendations regarding repairs that are either required or that will get you the best tenant and rent. We go over other comparable rentals and suggest a rent amount. At that visit or after, we discuss this and any other questions we may have for each other. At this meeting, we set mutual expectations for timelines and outline who is going to do what work (we have resources available for any scope of work), sign the paperwork and outline schedule expectations. This is where your part can end.
- We onboard your property and perform any work to the property to get it ready to rent.
- After your property is move-in ready, we take photos, video, create and publish the multiple listings.
- We handle all of the inquiries, showings, screening, lease signing, etc.
- We move the tenant in and take care of everything else that falls within the scope of our services.
How do you handle maintenance? Do you do preventative maintenance?
Over the years, we have learned that management of the property and maintenance on the property go hand-in-hand. We’ve also found that when not executed well, maintenance is the #1 reason tenants choose not to renew, owners get frustrated, and we have a difficult time picking up the pieces. For those reasons, we find that everyone is much better off when we coordinate all maintenance through our vendor network. We work diligently to add vendors who are licensed, insured, professional and stand behind their work.
Work requests are issued through an app we provide to the tenants or via our 24/7 emergency maintenance hotline. We will diagnose the problem as best we can over the phone, through the app, or ask the resident to take photos (if possible). We will first walk the resident through any trouble shooting that can be done safely on their own. If that doesn’t fix it, we assign the work to the best qualified vendor. Most of our maintenance items can be assigned to a handy person to avoid the more expensive trades (plumbers, electricians, etc.).
If the work is an emergency or within the spending threshold in your agreement (typically $500), we will use our best judgement to protect your property, cashflow, and your relationship with the tenant. If the work is not an emergency and is above the spending threshold, we are going to propose the recommendation to you and get your concurrence before proceeding.
You will get alerts from our system when any invoices have been posted. When possible, we attach any photos to show you what the money was going toward. Those charges will show up on your monthly statements.
We are huge believers that the best way to protect your property and make your tenant happy is by doing preventative maintenance. When we onboard your property, you will have the opportunity to select from preventative maintenance we suggest as well as share with us any specific preventative maintenance concerns you may have. When we notice items that need to be taken care of during our routine evaluations, we will follow the guidelines above to take care of them shortly after the visit.
Where do you advertise my property for rent? Do you advertise on the MLS?
The platforms tenants use to search for rental property are constantly changing in popularity. That’s why the platforms we syndicate to change from time-to-time with those search trends. We publish your listing on our website, Zillow, Trulia, Hotpads, Zumper, Rently, Realtor, as well as many others. We may also publish to our waitlist of prospective tenants who’ve expressed interest in our other properties, Facebook, and our Google listing. There are certain sites we stay away from due to the likelihood of scamming (like Craigslist).
While we have MLS access, we do not publish to the MLS because renters aren’t usually looking on the MLS and don’t want to have to hire an agent to show them property. Listing on the MLS increases the cost to you because of increased commissions, about 10% of rentals are on the MLS, and any time we have listed property on the MLS, they always rent through our network of sites before the MLS.
What does my involvement look like after hiring you? Will I be talking to tenants or annoyed with little maintenance items?
Our best clients like to be involved as little as possible after making the decision to hire us. And our hope is that over time, we can earn your trust to the point that you feel the same way. We will let you know if we recommend big projects or if we need your authorization to spend above our authorization limit. You should never meet your tenant and all communication flows through us. Many of our clients live overseas and are happy to have very little involvement with their properties while feeling confident that they are well cared for.
What type of insurance do I need? Should the tenants get insurance?
You will need what is a called a Landlord policy which is a special type of homeowner’s insurance that has coverages for you as a landlord. The policy may be slightly more or less than what you are paying now. It is really important that you think about increasing your liability coverage to $1 million + (we require $500,000 of liability coverage). This is typically only a few dollars more per year and protects you should a tenant ever want to sue you for something (we’ve never had this happen but it’s important coverage).
Make sure that whatever property manager you hire, they not only require tenants have renter’s insurance but they actually have a process they follow that ensures the insurance is in-place at move-in and that they are named on the policy so they are notified by the insurance company of any changes to that policy for the duration of the lease.
How often do you look at the property?
We can come out to the property to do a walkthrough inside and out complete with photos and a detailed report either two or four times per year depending on which plan
you choose. These are one of the most valuable services we provide as they serve a multitude of purposes: 1) it shows the tenants you and we care about the condition of the property and encourages them to report issues more rapidly, 2) not all tenants know what preventative maintenance items to look for, so we often catch the start of issues such as leaks before they cause serious damage, 3) we use it as an opportunity to ensure tenants are taking care of your home and complying with the terms of the lease.
Should I buy a home warranty?
Your number one expense in renting a property is tenants turning over: from vacancy to sprucing the place up. The number one reason tenants turnover is due to how maintenance is handled. It is extremely important when renting a property that maintenance issues are taken care of quickly, professionally, with great communication and done correctly the first time. We’ve invested substantial time and money into finding and on-boarding vendors who can help us achieve those goals. Unfortunately, we have found that because home warranty companies don’t use our systems to schedule appointments and communicate with all parties, have special payment and authorization requirements, don’t have guaranteed service times, often hire the cheapest and least professional local companies to do the work and will find ways to not cover large repairs, they make it nearly impossible to achieve these service goals. Therefore, we will only use pre-vetted vendors in our network to work on your property and take care of your tenants.
My property might need a lot of work to get it ready to rent; can you help?
Absolutely! Most of our clients are incredibly busy and love that we can help get their property ready. From cleaning the carpets to helping you sell personal items from the home, to complete renovations; we have teams that can handle just about anything!
How long will it take you to rent my property?
We’ve had properties rent with a tenant moving in a week after we put it on the market and we’ve had other properties that can take a couple of months to rent when owners don’t follow the guidelines below. There are a few factors that you can control that will increase the likelihood of renting your property out as quickly as possible: 1) allow us to get the property ready to rent (we can usually get the work done faster than doing it on your own), 2) strongly consider completing all of the recommendations we give you in our initial analysis to attract the most tenants and compete with other properties on the market, 3) strongly consider accepting pets as 50% + of tenants have a pet (check out our pet protection), 4) remain flexible on pricing of your property to allow us to keep your property competitively priced with the market. Ideally, we would have a well-qualified tenant approved to sign a lease 2-3 weeks after listing your property. We can list your property typically 1-3 business days after it is ready to photograph.
How long is my agreement with you?
We are a great fit for most busy professionals, but we aren’t the right fit for everyone and we certainly don’t want you to ever feel locked into an agreement you are worried may not work out. Depending on the plan you select, our agreements range from month-to-month to twelve months. We just ask that you give us 60 days notice so we can make it a smooth transition.
How do you handle pets?
It’s common to have concerns about pets living in your property. However, damage is typically a result of not screening the tenants well enough and not checking in on the property on a regular basis. We are so confident about how we manage pets at your property that we will personally pay you for any damage (depending on the plan you are on). It is rare for damage to occur, and when it does it is typically very minor. Should we find damage, we will often have it repaired mid-lease and charge the tenants right away. This re-enforces the expectation for keeping up on the property as well as protects the security deposit for charges incurred on move-out.
What’s the tenant responsible for (utilities, lawncare, etc.)? How about repairs?
By default, tenants are responsible for general upkeep of the property such as keeping it clean, free from common bugs (excluding wood destroying organisms, rodents, etc.), keeping the lawn cut, weeds pulled, and shrubs trimmed. The tenant is responsible for anything they break or damage beyond “normal wear and tear.” It is also the tenants’ responsibility to report maintenance needs and concerns to us.
It is your responsibility as an owner to repair items that are damaged as a result of normal wear and tear, more involved landscaping such as mulch replacement and trimming of large trees, cleaning gutters, and keeping the home safe, habitable, and functioning as intended and advertised.
Some examples of expenses tenants would be responsible for are: treatment for ants, unclogging the kitchen drain after putting potato peels down the sink, mowing the lawn, stains in carpet, broken window panes, spots on or damage to walls beyond dirt smudges, replacing light bulbs, etc.
Some examples of expenses owners would be responsible for are: treatment (if applicable) for termites, rodents, birds or sealing off entrances to the property where pests could get in, replacing a rusted out garbage disposal, pruning large trees, repairing/replacing stretched out or worn carpet, replacing worn window screens, painting walls to cover smudges or general wear, repairing broken light fixtures, etc.
What if the tenant breaks something?
It’s rare for tenants we place to cause major damage but when it does happen, it’s best to address it when it’s found. Depending on the stage of the lease, we will send out a vendor to repair the damage and if it is their responsibility, we will bill it back to the tenant after the work is complete. Ultimately, the law is very clear that as the property owner, you are responsible for any repairs regardless of who caused them but it does allow us to bill the tenant to reimburse you.
How long is the typical lease?
The typical lease is 12 months, however, please let us know if you have a unique circumstance warranting a shorter or longer lease. On a case-by-case basis, we will consider shorter lease renewals if it is necessary for the tenant and is advantageous to the owner (aligning the start date with a more ideal time of year, premium rent, etc.).
How and when do I get paid?
We can process owner payments when they clear our bank account. Rent is due on the 1st and is late on the 6th. We process payments for owners twice per month on the 10th and the 20th (in case you were missed on the 10th). It can take up to about six calendar days for the payment to clear your bank account. It is best practice as an investment property owner to have between 3-6 months of rent in a separate checking account to buffer timing of these payments, vacancy, repairs, etc.
For more information about Charlotte Property Management, please visit our educational blog page.