Questions & Answers
Q: What’s the difference between Windermere Lease Source and other property management firms?
A: Account Managers arrange terms of the contract (Management Agreement) with the property owners, oversee marketing of the property, show the property to prospective tenants, review lease applications with owners, prepare lease contracts with tenants, conduct tenant inspections, respond to maintenance issues and periodically report to property owners. This level of service, by the Account Manager, better ensures accurate representation of both parties. In order to best serve our clients, Account Managers are limited in the number of properties they can manage.
Q: What can Windermere Lease Source Property Management do to make sure my property is well maintained?
A: At least three activities can help insure your home’s continued good condition. First, an owner must leave the property in excellent condition. We provide, in the Management Agreement, specific ways the property is to be cleaned and maintained before we will market it. Those same conditions are included in the tenant’s Lease. Simply stated, if it’s in great condition when the owner turns it over to Lease Source, it should be in excellent condition at the end of the lease. Second, if a property owner has specific issues of concern, we will document those concerns in both the Management and Lease Agreements. Tenants will be required to acknowledge all cleaning and other special requirements when the Lease is executed. Third, at least once during the lease term, the Account Manager will conduct a brief, visual inspection of the property.
Q: Do you allow smoking in properties you manage?
A: No. The lease is very specific that no smoking or vaping is permitted anywhere on the leased premises.
Q: What fees can a property owner expect to pay when considering a management agreement?
A: Full service management has four types of fees; marketing, management, renewal, relisting. Following is a brief description of each and typical fees:
- Initial listing and set up fees include management initialization, signage installation, and labor costs associated with posting to various (described later) websites, showing property to interested prospects, application screening, move-in, interim and move out inspections. This fee is collected when the management agreement is signed.
- Management Fees are not assessed until the property is rented. The rate is typically 8-12% of the monthly rent. The percentage charged varies depending on factors including a property’s rental value and location.
- A Renewal Fee is assessed if an Owner and tenant wish to extend the lease for another period. This covers the negotiation of the terms and the preparation and execution of the lease extension documents.
- A Re-Listing Fee, is assessed when a tenant’s lease expires and a new tenant must be secured. Services include all of those from the initial listing and set up, except for the photography. Photographs from the initial listing will be used for the re-listing.
Q: What services do you provide, to an owner, for the management fee?
A: Of utmost importance is the collection of rents, payment of owner obligations, and disbursement of funds to the owner. We prepare monthly and year end accounting for the owner. We respond to tenant inquiries and service issues and, if necessary, issue notices for lease compliance. Periodically, the Account Manager will conduct a street level review of the property to insure tenants are maintaining the exterior of the property as they have agreed. Mid-way thru the lease period we will conduct a property inspection and compare it with the initial move-in inspection.
Q: For how long does an owner need to commit?
A: Windermere Lease Source’s goal is long term management for our clients. Our standard agreement is for one year but the termination date with the property’s owner coincides with the expiration of the tenants’ lease, or lease extension.
Q: If repairs are necessary, and if it is the owner’s responsibility to pay for those repairs, how does Windermere Lease Source handle that?
A: Washington State’s Landlord Tenant Act has specific time periods for response by the Landlord after the Tenant requests repair services. For that reason, we hold $300 of the owner’s funds in the owners’ reserve (trust) account to be able to remedy minor repairs. If the repairs are going to exceed the $300, we will contact the owner for additional funding. Lease Source does not mark-up repair costs. Our company has a number of reliable sources for repair. If an owner prefers a specific company for servicing, we will follow the owner’s direction.
Q: How do you locate tenants?
A: Statistically, about 85% of prospective tenants find homes to lease on the internet: our own website, Craigslist, Trulia, Zillow, HotPads or AHRN (the military website). Depending on location, approximately 15% contact us because of signage in front of a home.
Q: What background checks are done on prospective tenants?
A: Thru a third party screening service, we receive reports on applicants’ credit history, criminal history, rental references and income sources. The cost of this review is paid by the applicant. When the screening company sends the results to us, we will review those findings with the property owner and a decision on the applicant’s suitability will be determined.
Q: If an owner wants assistance in leasing a property, but wants to self-manage, can Windermere Lease Source help? What do you charge for that service?
A: While our preference is to enter into a full service management agreement, we can help the owner who wishes to self manage. For this service we charge the greater of the sum of $600 plus the expected management fee for 5 months if we were to manage the property, or $1,600.
Q: Do you have a policy about returning phone calls?
A: Yes we do. Account Managers are expected to respond to all calls on the day the call is received. At the latest, a call should be returned by 10:00 the following morning.
Q Does a real estate agent receive compensation for referring an owner to your company?
A: Our margins are simply too small to adequately compensate outside agents. Once a property is leased, however, we send them a small referral gift. An agent’s reward is knowing they have directed their client, or friend, to a firm with reputation for exceptional property management. They can be confident the client will be treated with respect and we will work hard to meet their expectations. If we fail to do so, we want to be told.
Q: How do you determine the rent for a property?
A: Home leasing rates are not as easily determined as home sales values. Often we have a sense of a rate based on experience with similar properties in similar neighborhoods. At other times, we might want to research the values of similar properties currently available and listed by competing property management companies. It is of the utmost importance to list a property at the best (marketable) value. If an owner insists on listing a home for substantially more that we believe it is worth, we may suggest the owner contact another firm.
Q: If I have more questions, who should I contact?
A: You can contact Gary Miller at (509) 868-8743