Here are a list of the most frequently asked question we get from prospective clients. If there is a topic that isn’t covered below please reach out to us and we’ll get it answered!
We manage single family homes, condominiums units, HOA’s, multi-family buildings, vacant properties, and REO properties for banks.
You should hire us only if you think we are the best match for your property management needs. Frankly, we are not a perfect fit for every property owner and it would be arrogant and wrong for us to simply proclaim “we are the best, hire us!”. We may be the best property manager for some owners and properties but not for others. That is why this FAQ page exists so that you can learn about us and the guiding principles we will employ in the management of your property.
Turning over your rental property to the care of an unknown property manager can be an emotional and frightening experience. You want to be able to trust your property manager so that you won’t be worrying about your home. The more research and information you gather, the better you will feel about your final decision. Of course, we’d love the chance to earn your trust and manage your property, so please read on.
We are asked this question more than any other by new owner prospects. Of course it depends on a lot of factors: the condition of your building inside and out, the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and overall square footage, and the current supply of other rentals available in the market. We will assess all of these factors and assist you in determining the optimal rent for your unit. We are also mindful that an empty unit is more costly than one rented at slightly less you would like to accept.
We give it maximum exposure while it is for rent and we carefully scrutinize all interested parties. FOR RENT SIGNS – Posted at the property with our website and phone number clearly displayed. Prospective renters can find out very easily – 24/7/365 – the price and size of your property and when it will be ready for move-in. MLS – Your rental property data is entered in the Northern New England Real Estate Network (NNEREN) Multiple Listing Service giving access to over 6,000 other Realtors and Renters. INTERNET LISTINGS – Our available unit and homes for rent are posted online complete with photos, maps and property details for the convenience of those searching for a new home. They are also listed on numerous national websites such as Realtor.com, Trulia.com, and our own website at www.millcitypm.com. WORD OF MOUTH / REFERRALS – Current and past tenants, friends of our tenants, referrals from other agents that we network with. CORRECT PRICING – Even the best and nicest homes will not lease quickly if overpriced. We make sure your rental home is priced according to current market conditions. THOROUGH PREPARATION – Even the best located and well priced rental homes will not lease quickly in our current market if the rental home is not in top showing condition. Homes for rent absolutely must show well and have an attractive “curb appeal” or they may sit empty for extended periods. Part of our job as a property manager is to make sure your rental home is presented in a clean and attractive condition so that it will attract a good tenant.
We give it maximum exposure while it is for rent and we carefully scrutinize all interested parties.
FOR RENT SIGNS – Posted at the property with our website and phone number clearly displayed. Prospective renters can find out very easily – 24/7/365 – the price and size of your property and when it will be ready for move-in.
MLS – Your rental property data is entered in the Northern New England Real Estate Network (NNEREN) Multiple Listing Service giving access to over 6,000 other Realtors and Renters.
INTERNET LISTINGS – Our available unit and homes for rent are posted online complete with photos, maps and property details for the convenience of those searching for a new home. They are also listed on numerous national websites such as Realtor.com, Trulia.com, and our own website at www.millcitypm.com.
WORD OF MOUTH / REFERRALS – Current and past tenants, friends of our tenants, referrals from other agents that we network with.
CORRECT PRICING – Even the best and nicest homes will not lease quickly if overpriced. We make sure your rental home is priced according to current market conditions.
THOROUGH PREPARATION – Even the best located and well priced rental homes will not lease quickly in our current market if the rental home is not in top showing condition. Homes for rent absolutely must show well and have an attractive “curb appeal” or they may sit empty for extended periods. Part of our job as a property manager is to make sure your rental home is presented in a clean and attractive condition so that it will attract a good tenant.
This is the most important aspect of the successful management of rental property. Application processing is typically done by us in-house. We don’t send the application to a third party for processing as do most other property managers. In general, an applicant’s past behavior is the best indicator of what to expect from them in the future. An applicant must demonstrate a history of being a good, responsible tenant or homeowner as well as meeting credit & income standards.
LANDLORD REFERENCES – We personally talk to past landlords and ask detailed, open-ended questions about the applicant’s past performance.
CREDIT REPORT – Our property manager and leasing agent has a direct connection with the Tri-merge credit bureaus-Experian, TransUnion, & Equifax. We obtain a credit report which tells us the applicant’s current and past performance toward meeting their financial obligations. It also tells us their monthly debt, credit score, and shows their previous addresses (which we compare to addresses listed on the application). An applicant must meet established credit standards.
CRIMINAL HISTORY REPORT – We run all applicants through National, State, & local databases which return and records of most wanted lists, national sex offender, specially designated nationals watch list, & criminal records by state via their social security number.
DRIVER’s LICENSE VERIFICATION – We pull a copy of the applicant’s public drivers license data. This tells us not only if the addresses given on the application are consistent but also when and what the last driver’s license activity was, such as a renewal or change of address. This is important because if someone says they have been living at a certain address for the past three years, but then we see they renewed their drivers license a year ago at a different address, a red flag goes up and we often find in that situation that the applicant is trying to conceal bad rental history.
PROPERTY TAX SEARCH – If a private individual is listed as the previous or current landlord, we will pull the tax records and verify that the person listed actually owns the property. The property tax record crosscheck, along with pulling driver license data, is what reveals most of the fraud attempts that we encounter and is a level of scrutiny that most other property management companies do not even perform.
EMPLOYMENT/INCOME – We contact the employer to verify the length of employment, status, and income. An applicant needs to earn at least 3 times the monthly rent in gross income to qualify for rental and we will want to see a copy of their pay stub.
PETS – We don’t generally permit animals/pets into managed properties unless you allow us to do so, however, more than half of renters have pets. When we make the decision to accept an applicant with pets, we minimize your risk by limiting the breed, age, number and size of the pets. We also use a special pet addendum for your protection. We are careful in selecting tenants who wish to bring pets with them.
SOCIAL MEDIA – Actions speak louder than words. Prospective tenants are usually on their best behaviour when we meet them and we understand this. To get a clearer indication of the type of individual we will be dealing with after they are approved, we look a little deeper by searching their profiles on the major social media platforms. It’s not the end all be all but there is often helpful information gleaned by employing this check.
OTHER FACTORS – Many of our managed properties are subject to Home Owner Association restrictions such as no boats or trailers, and limits on the type and number of vehicles. An otherwise qualified applicant may be unable to lease a property if, for instance, they own a boat and want to park it in the driveway. We make sure issues like that are covered up front to avoid surprises after move-in.
Your property manager gives the tenant an opportunity to correct the situation and usually they will. If a problem persists, we will make a decision based on that specific situation.
All tenants recieve a monthly reminder when rent becomes due. On the 6th of the month we send late notices to all tenants with any unpaid balances. We will post an eviction notice about the 12th day of the month if payment is not received by then. Whether or not we eventually have to proceed with a formal eviction depends on the specific circumstances. It is always financially better for all involved if a solution can be worked out. If the tenant has experienced a one-time event which is causing them a financial hardship, and we have had no previous problems with them, it is better for you and the tenant if we give them a chance to catch up – if there is reason to believe they can do so. If the tenant has demonstrated an ongoing pattern of late payments, broken promises about payments and/or evasiveness, we know from experience that eviction is the best course of action. Each case is unique and the property manager will make a decision based what is best for you and your home in the long run. That said, we always proceed with the legal notices required for eviction regardless of any other factors. We will simply postpone the actual filing of the eviction if the tenant is showing favorable effort toward resolution. Eviction for non-payment of rent in New Hampshire is fairly straight forward process and there is no way a tenant can prevail in court if they have not paid rent and the landlord has properly executed the notices and filing process. Full evictions, when necessary, can take between 30 to 60 days, but are ultimately decided by a judge in the local district court.
Absent any special considerations unique to you or your property, our rule of thumb is this: If something may cause a potential interruption in your ordinary cash flow (loss of tenant or non-emergency repair in excess of $100), we will let you know about it right away. Other than that, the saying “no news is good news” is most appropriate. Non emergency items will be communicated along with your monthly statements and, of course, we encourage you to contact the property manager anytime you have a question or wish to discuss something. We know some owners desire a level of involvement that our property management system is not designed to accommodate. We try our best to make sure you are a good match for our style of property management. Part of that process is this Question and Answer page so you can obtain a sense of how we think and how the manager will manage your investment property. We may not be the best match for your needs if you are a worrisome property owner or “Nervous Nelly” who needs constant communication from the property manager, such as a phone call before any repairs are completed. The property owners who appreciate us the most are those who truly want everything handled for them turn-key and don’t want to be bothered unless something important is happening. That is the type of property management service we offer.
We allow our tenant to make and track all maintenance requests online via their web login or via our mobile app. They may also call in or email their requests. After we receive a repair request, we may contact the tenant and ask them questions which will help us determine the exact nature of the problem before sending a service technician. We also make sure it is not something the tenant can fix themselves (ex: reset button on the disposal, tripped breaker) before your money is spent on a service call. After determining that it is a legitimate problem, we will send the appropriate service vendor to make the repair. We tell our tenants that we are able to handle most repair requests within 1 to 3 working days, and in fact are usually able to do so. Critical & safety items ie. no hot water or heat, major leaks etc, receive highest priority and are usually attended to the same or next business day.
No. Our vendors are middle of the road in price and are competent and reliable. We also have a few dedicated all-around maintenance sub-contractors who are capable in a wide range of home repairs. Our main “go to” handyman vendors charge $30 to $45 per hour in general. Our other specialized vendors range in price from $50 per hour to $95, and sometimes more for conditions such as an after-hours emergency sewer backup. We try to have our main contacts handle most of the multi-trade and make-ready tasks and use other vendors when we are backed up. This saves our owners a lot of money on multi-trade repairs by cutting down on the number of service calls to the property by different vendors. It also means that if we are called out on a dishwasher repair, we are going to be checking the a/c filter, sink drains, smoke alarms and general condition of the property – something that a single trade vendor will not do for you. We think we have developed a very sensible approach to handling maintenance and repairs and that you will realize cost savings that other property managers simply can’t deliver.
We will hold back $100-$200 (depending upon the size and age of the building), in your account so that we always have funds to pay our vendors quickly.
We already have a stable of very qualified and reasonably priced vendors that we have used for many years. If you would like to nominate a service company to be added to our vendor list, they can contact us and we will interview them and let them know what documentation and references we need, what our invoicing and payment policy is, etc. We cannot guarantee however that your favorite company will be sent on all service calls to your home. Our concern is always to resolve repair problems in the most efficient way possible with the best available vendor at the time. We can’t keep track of a pre-established roster of vendors assigned to certain properties – it would be a cumbersome and inefficient property management system and would not achieve the best service to the tenant and your investment property. Our professional reputation as property managers, both with tenants and owners, is largely, if not almost entirely, determined by the effectiveness with which we handle maintenance. We follow a practice that is most likely to insure the best possible response and resolution to maintenance and repair problems for your property.
This is a legitimate fear. We promise in writing not to do that. For ordinary maintenance and repairs of less than $100, we take care of it without notifying you. You will find out when you receive your monthly statement. If we think a repair might exceed $100, we will call you and let you know what is happening, what we think should be done, and what the estimated cost might be. Sometimes expenses such as a replacing a bad water heater, a roof leak that needs patching or repair, or emergency A/C and furnace repairs are unavoidable. In those cases where 1) the health or safety of a tenant is an issue, or 2) in instances where there is only one option to consider or 3) the property will incur damage if immediate action is not taken, the property manager will initiate the repair work, even if it is higher that the $100 limit, and then let you know of the situation and what we are doing about it. Mainly, we don’t think important repairs should be delayed while we try to contact you for permission to do the obvious.
No. Sorry, but we won’t use American Home Shield or any other warranty company to make repairs at your home. The logistics and communication problems we have encountered with past attempts to use the warranty companies are not acceptable for the level of property management service we strive to achieve. American Home Shield once left our tenant without air-conditioning for 9 days in August (100+ degrees) while they went through their ridiculous “second opinion” process. We finally had to call out our regular people who had the problem fixed in two hours. We vowed never again to be hamstrung by that sort of bureaucracy and lunacy. We hold all of the home warranty companies in extremely low regard and believe, overall, that their plans are a rip-off (read the fine print in your service contract) and border on fraud. If you want your home warranty company to be used for the repairs and maintenance of your rental property, we are unfortunately not the property management company you should hire.
Owners checks are mailed out on or after the 10th of each month but no later than the 15th for that month’s activity. Most months, you will have your check and statement in hand by the 15th. We strongly encourage you to take advantage of our free EFT service for receiving your monthly payments. It is both secure and time efficient, plus it saves you a trip to the bank.
Yes. We offer owners a free EFT direct deposit service. You will typically receive your direct deposit by the 10-12th of the month.
While you can request a mailed or e-mailed statement each month, we provide you with a password protected online account where you can get up-to-date information on your account. Such access will show: maintenance status’, when/if your tenants have paid their rent for the month, as well as a dozen downloadable custom statements including: income/expense reports, rent roll, scanned copies of documents like leases, management agreements, receipts from repairs & purchases and more. If you prefer a mailed or e-mailed copy, please contact our office to request this service.
Our usual property management fee ranges from 8-10% of the gross collected monthly rent, with a $50 per month minimum.
The leasing commission is equal to 1 month’s rent. Usually this is charged on the first full month’s rent for new tenants. A renewal fee of 10% of the new monthly rent may be charged for retaining current residents and executing a lease renewal. All classified advertising costs are passed through to owners, and we absorb all other costs of leasing the property including MLS fees, internet marketing, for rent signs, lock boxes, etc.