Owner Frequently Asked Questions
Answers to Your Commonly Asked Questions
How do we Start?
The process begins with an executed property management agreement with Ultimate Property Management. Once that is complete we can begin to assume management of your home. This includes amongst other things, a thorough and comprehensive inspection of the property by one of our trained property managers to ensure the home is both compliant with local and state laws and to be sure the home is in rent ready condition. To request a management agreement, please call or email us and we will be sure to follow up and discuss how our firm can assist in the management of your home.
What does the process look like after signing the agreement?
If the home is currently vacant then our highest priority will be to find a suitable tenant as quickly as possible. Any significant repairs, touchups, or cosmetic work will need to be completed prior to marketing. Whether you are the do it yourself type, or just want us to handle it, we can work together to get your home in order. Photography of the home will take place from there and marketing will commence immediately. Our marketing is substantial – meaning your home will appear on more than 60 of the top rental websites available. The more exposure your home has, the greater the likelihood of finding a quality tenant in short order. When a prospective tenant expresses interest in the property they will fill out an application on our website. Among other things, the application process involves a credit check, criminal background check, and verification of income and past rental history.
How much rent and what deposits are tenants required to pay prior to move in?
Once the potential tenant successfully satisfies our extensive screening process in most cases they will be asked to sign a one year lease and pay a security deposit equivalent to one month’s rent to secure the home. Prior to move in, they will also be required to pay the first month’s rent or prorated rent and if the property is pet-friendly, a non-refundable pet fee will be collected. We charge $250 per pet or as agreed upon by the owner.
Are there limits to how much money we can hold as a security deposit?
North Carolina Real Estate Law prohibits holding more than the equivalent of two month’s rent as a Security Deposit. In some instances holding a higher deposit than the standard one month’s rent is recommended. With owner consent, Ultimate Property Management recommends retaining a higher deposit when: renting to students, three or more unrelated people, or someone with slightly below our preferred credit score. Ultimate Property Management will provide an accounting of all of these monies in a monthly statement, along with a monthly disbursement of rent
What Happens to the Security Deposit?
In accordance with North Carolina Real Estate Commission guidelines, the tenant’s security deposit will be held in an escrow account, also known as a trust account. At lease termination we will inspect the property and the security deposit will be returned to the tenant less any costs to repair damages that exceed normal wear and tear. The North Carolina Real Estate Commission has strict policies as to the handling of security deposits that must be followed to the letter of the law.
How is rent payment handled and when is it due?
Rent is due on the 1st of the month and is considered late after the 5th. If late, the North Carolina Real Estate law allows for a 5% late fee to be applied. On the 6th day, the tenant is notified that their rent is late, and asked to pay the additional 5%. Any rent paid after the 5th must be in the form of money order or certified bank check to avoid insufficient funds.
How does the lease renewal process work?
Approximately 2 months prior to lease expiration Ultimate Property Management will contact the tenants regarding lease renewal. If they have proved worthy and wish to renew we will send a renewal agreement to the tenants outlining the terms of another lease. In some cases rent may increase or the term may change. For example, the tenant may wish to stay on in a month-to-month capacity which may cause an increase to the rent for the convenience of going month-to-month. For tenants who signed a one year lease, we require a 60 day notice of their plans to vacate. 30 days notice is required for tenants on month-to-month lease.
What happens if the rent is not paid by the tenant?
This is an unfortunate circumstance that we try to avoid, but it happens from time to time. Even with the best screening process, bad things can happen to good people. After repeated attempts to collect rent, the owner is notified of the current situation and consulted to ask if we should proceed with the eviction process. If so, we file for summary ejectment (eviction) on the 16th day of the month. A court date is typically set about one week after papers are filed. We handle every aspect of the process. It will not be necessary for you as the home owner to be present in a court of law. If and when the court awards eviction to the plaintiff, the tenant is required to vacate the property within 10 days. In some cases tenants do not voluntarily vacate which requires that we file for a writ of possession. This is delivered by a representative from the Sheriff’s office. The tenant then has 10 days to vacate the property. On the 10th day we show up with the sheriff and change the locks. The owner is responsible for all costs associated with the eviction process. Some of these fees however may be recovered by the security deposit.
What happens when the tenant moves out?
When a tenant vacates a property, we perform a thorough move out inspection to assess the condition of the property. A determination is made as to if and how much of any monies need to be withheld from the tenant security deposit. We will provide a detailed list of any and all repairs that need to be completed to get the property re-rented in a timely fashion. The State of North Carolina states that normal wear and tear is not the tenant’s responsibility. For example, small holes in walls where pictures may have been hung are considered normal wear and tear whereas a large hole in the wall caused by tenant negligence would be the responsibility of the tenant and deducted from the tenant security deposit. Any and all damages above the normal wear and tear will be deducted from the deposit to restore the home to it’s original condition, making it rent ready again and maximizing the owner’s return on investment.
When are rent monies and monthly statements disbursed to owners?
Rent monies are disbursed typically between the 10th and 15th calendar days of the month depending upon what calendar day those dates fall within. Owner statements are typically sent the following day. To more promptly obtain the rental proceeds, owners are encouraged to provide their banking information so a direct deposit can be made within 24-48 hrs. of disbursement. If the tenant has not paid the rent by the 15th of the month, owners will receive a statement, but no monies. No management fees are ever charged unless rent has been collected.
How is the rent rate determined for my property?
The short is answer is we don’t decide, the market does. We make a recommendation based on the current rental market, inventory, competition, and condition of the home. However, the owner has the final authority and control to ultimately determine the price for which the property is marketed.
What if my property is vacant?
While your property is vacant we still keep you informed of the process. We will send you weekly updates of the leasing activity and monthly statements. It will include any monthly bills that are required. We request that you make payments in a prompt manner so our qualified vendors can be paid quickly. We provide you with all invoices and work orders and NEVER charge or collect any fees associated with the use of our vendors. Additionally, no management fees are collected unless rent is collected. So, we are not making money unless you are making money.
What is needed to get my home ready to rent?
We pride ourselves on having only the best rentals available. We highly recommend that you have the property in turn key, move-in, rent ready condition. Not only will it rent faster, but it will bring more rent because of its condition. One of our property managers will make an initial inspection of the home to determine what items need to be addressed and will provide a detailed list of the findings. From there we can organize a punch list and get the home on the market in as little time as possible.
Who is responsible for costs associated with advertising my property?
We are! That’s our job. In addition to yard signage we advertise your home on more than 60 national and local websites. This ensures that if anyone is looking for a home like yours they are bound to find it.
How are tenants selected?
Our screening process ensures that we know everything needed to make a determination for who will be living in your home. We use a national background investigative research firm to thoroughly screen each applicant. We verify references, rental history, employment, and obtain extensive reports outlining criminal background and eviction history.
Am I responsible for maintenance or the tenant?
The owner is responsible for the bulk of the maintenance. Tenants are responsible maintaining the grounds and ongoing pest control if so desired. Ultimate Property Management arranges maintenance on the owner’s behalf. If the amount of the repair exceeds $250, the owner is consulted prior to ordering the repair to ensure we are on the same page about how to best proceed.
Can I market my property For Sale and For Rent at the same time?
Of course! It may not be in your best interest though. Seeing a for sale and for rent sign simultaneously confuses the consumer and can scare them away. We have however successfully done this in the past. We highly recommend that if the home rents before it sells that the home be taken off the market during the remainder of the lease period. Many tenants are reluctant to sign a lease if the property may be sold. It can also be difficult to sell a home when the tenant is responsible for how well the home shows and is staged and also has some control of when showings are able to take place.