Answers to your frequently asked questions
What type of properties do you manage?We specialize in managing properties near UWEC, single family homes, duplexes, multi-unit buildings, mobile home parks, and land lease communities.
What type of properties do you NOT manage?We don't manage commercial properties. We don't manage homes with chronic repair issues or conditions that might adversely affect the health or safety of an ordinary tenant. An example would be a home with a rotted 2nd story deck that an owner "can't afford" to properly repair.
Are you licensed?
Yes, we are licensed Realtors and members of:
- Realtors Association of Northwest Wisconsin
- Wisconsin Realtors Association
- National Association of Residential Property Management
- Eau Claire Chamber of Commerce
- Better Business Bureau
- Certified Eau Claire Landlords
What do you do to get my property rented?
Renting homes is a merchandising rather than a selling effort. Many tenants find their homes by scrutinizing the outer appearance of properties in neighborhoods where they desire to live. The placement of signs with our company name and telephone number is one of our best means of attracting potential tenants. We also acquire tenants through Internet web searches, other Real Estate companies, rental agencies, walk-in business, and referrals from satisfied clients.
- FOR RENT SIGNS - "For Rent" signs are normally placed on a rental property thirty (30) days prior to the property's availability date. For new property, the sign is placed on the date the unit first comes under our management or, if necessary, when the property is in a showing condition. Signs are placed in the yard where they are visible to traffic.
- WORD OF MOUTH / REFERRALS - We regularly receive referrals from our current and past tenants, friends of our tenants, and from other Broker's agents.
- INTERNET LISTINGS - We have developed a web page, which provides information on rental homes to families that are planning to relocate into the area. Our properties are posted online at EC4rent.com.
- CORRECT PRICING - Even the best properties will not lease quickly if overpriced. We analyze the market to be certain your home is priced according to current market conditions.
- THOROUGH PREPARATION - The most desirable properties, priced well, will not lease quickly if they are not in top condition. Properties must show well and have "curb appeal". We make sure your property is presented in a clean and attractive condition so that it will catch the attention of a good, qualified tenant.
- WE SHOW YOUR PROPERTY PERSONALLY - We have motivated leasing agents, who are all licensed REALTORS®, who personally show your property. Potential tenants ARE NOT permitted to take keys and view properties.
Normally, there are three factors that make a property difficult to rent - undesirable neighborhood, it does not show well, or the rent is not competitive. If one of the last two problems appears to be a factor in marketing your property, we will make suggestions to correct them. We do our utmost to keep all properties rented, not only for your benefit but also because our income is based on a percentage of the rental income. Some Rental Facts -- Monday is the busiest phone day.- Renters visit three to five properties before making a decision.- It usually takes two visits for a renter to make a decision.- Over 75% decide to rent in the spring or summer.- 58% of the prospective tenants use the Internet.- The female is the primary decision maker.
What do you do to process a tenant application?
This is one of the most important aspects of the successful management of rental property. We look at an applicant's past behavior and assume their future behavior will be the same. An applicant must demonstrate a history of being a good, responsible tenant as well as meeting our financial criteria.
- APPLICATION - After a prospective resident has been shown a property and has expressed a desire to lease it, our Rental Application must be submitted.
- SCREENING - We subscribe to tenant screening through our software. Applicants are scored on nine areas including hard credit score, criminal and civil court records, and sex offender registry.
- LANDLORD VERIFICATIONS - We personally talk to past landlords and ask detailed questions about the applicant's past performance.
- EMPLOYMENT / INCOME VERIFICATIONS - We verify job title, job status, salary and prospects for continued employment. An applicant needs to earn at least 3 to 4 times the monthly rent in gross income to qualify for rental.
How do you make sure the tenant is taking good care of my property?
First, careful tenant selection protects your property from being rented to unqualified people. During the lease term, we may have occasion to enter the property for repair or maintenance reasons and will use that opportunity to examine the property.
In addition, we offer a 6 month property evaluation walk-through to see how the tenants are maintaining the property.
The Eau Claire Police Department Landlord Alert Program notifies us by email of any issues that involve law enforcement.
With Xcel Energy we have the tenants sign a 3rd Party Notifier. With the notifier, if the tenant stops paying the Xcel Energy bill, we are notified so we can take action against any issues that could happen to a house without power. Also, not paying bills is a sign of other problems.
What do you do when a tenant is not taking care of my property?We give them an opportunity to correct the situation, and usually they will. If a problem persists, we will make a decision based on that specific situation.
What do you do if the tenant stops paying rent?
If payment has not been made by the 5th - 6th day of the month, we contact the tenant. If the next step is needed, we serve upon their person a 5 Day Notice to Pay or Vacate. Whether or not we eventually have to proceed with a formal eviction depends on the specific circumstances. It is usually financially better for all involved if a solution can be worked out. If the tenant has experienced a one-time event which caused them a financial hardship, and we have had no previous problems with them, we will normally 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 and/or evasiveness, eviction is usually the best course of action.
Each case is unique, and we make our decisions based on what is best for you and the property in the long run. 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. As I see it, evictions in Wisconsin are a simple legal matter as 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.
How informed will I be about what happens to my property?We believe that you hire a property manager to manage the property for you, not to assist you in managing it yourself. We offer a turnkey style of property management service which is most appreciated by those property owners who prefer to be "out of the loop" on all but the most important matters related to the management and leasing of the property. We don't pester you with small details, questions, information or "updates" about your property or tenants, except for those matters which will have a significant impact on your monthly cash flow. Instead, we simply take care of the things you have entrusted us to handle on your behalf.
What if I want to be involved in the management of my property?For some property owners, our system is not a good match, and we understand that. We are very up front about the fact that we do not want you to hire us if you expect to be involved in minor details or decisions related to the management and leasing of your property. We simply have not designed our systems and procedures to accommodate that level of involvement by owners.
How do you handle maintenance request?Tenants may submit requests through our website. For emergencies, they may call us or use our 24 hour phone number. After receiving a repair request, we will contact the tenant and ask them questions in order to help us determine the exact nature of the problem before sending a service technician. We make sure it is not something the tenant can fix themselves (ex: reset button on the disposal, tripped breaker etc.) 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. Comfort items such as air conditioning, no hot water, or heat, receive highest priority and are usually attended to the same or next business day.
How do I know you won't spend my money on large repairs without my approval?
This is the greatest fear of most new owners. We promise in writing in our Property Management Agreement not to do that. Ordinary maintenance and repairs of less than $300 are paid out of your account, and you will see this in your monthly statement. If we think a repair might exceed $300 and if we are unable to reach you, we may initiate repair work even if it is higher than $300 as stated in the management agreement; for the following cases: (1) the health or safety of a tenant is an issue; (2) the property will incur damage if immediate action is not taken, (3) In instances where there is only one option to consider. We will not leave a tenant waiting in negative degree temperatures without heat, or without hot water, or a leaking roof while we try to contact you for permission to do the obvious.
Sometimes an owner will complain that we spent $365 (for example) when it was not an emergency. The simple explanation for this is that the company that went to the property charged a $65 service call (for example) to go out to the property whether they fixed anything or not. Therefore, instead of having the owner incur a $65 service call just for us to get an estimate and then having to send the company back out to do the repair and the owner having to incur another $65 service call, the owner saved $65 by having the repair done the first time.
We always tell the maintenance companies to alert us if the repair is going to be over $300. Sometimes the maintenance company may think that the repair will not go over $300, but after they get working on the repair, they find that there is more to fix than they could see before they started the job. It would not make good sense and it could be a safety issue if the company had to leave an air conditioner or dishwasher, etc. torn apart while we waited for your permission to ok the additional $50.00 (for example) and then the maintenance company could charge another trip charge on top of the extra money for the repairs. This would not be in your (the owners) best interest.
What if my friend is fairly handy can you use him to fix stuff so I can save some money?No, we only use our qualified vendors. We are not able for liability reasons to use your friends or relatives to perform work on your home unless they are in fact licensed vendors (see the next FAQ below).
What if I want you to use my plumber or my electrician for repair?We will be happy to invite them to join our vendor list if they are qualified and insured, but we cannot promise that a specific vendor will be dispatched to your home for certain repairs.
How do I receive my proceeds each month?Each month we will make any electronic payment directly into your bank account from the management company's bank account of your proceeds. This will happen generally about the 10th day of the month.
Are your fees negotiable?I find it interesting how landlords are focused on minimizing costs when a better approach I feel is to look at maximizing profits. The bottom line is most important. The value you receive from our efficiencies, services, systems, and experience will give you the most cash flow, but we will not be the cheapest management company. Therefore, our fees are non-negotiable.
Are there administrative fees or other service charges?There are no start-up costs. We do not charge for long distance calls or mileage. We never receive kick-backs from vendors. The only other expenses you incur would be for services which fall outside the normal scope of our Property Management Agreement. Owners often ask us to do things that are outside our normal management services, and we try to accommodate our owners whenever possible, but we do have to pay someone to do such things as drive over to the house and take pictures of the new fence or roof and send them to the owner, or meet an appraiser at the house, or receive delivery of a new refrigerator the owner bought on sale from Best Buy.
Can General Property Management help me sell my real estate?I will very carefully answer this question with yes, but please let me expand upon my answer. We frequently work with other real estate sales agents to manage the property as part of a plan to have the other real estate agent eventually sell the real estate. The sales agent that does not do any management is a very good source of very good property to manage for us and we do not want to jeopardize that relationship. We also work with investors to purchase, sell, and do tax deferred exchanges of real estate. When you are working with us, you are in our circle of family and friends and receive a discount by using us to represent you in a sale. We are members of the Wisconsin Realtors Association and subscribe to the Multi-Listing Service (MLS).
Is the property management agreement a standard form that is generally used by all management companies?Yes, we use the Wisconsin Realtors Association Property Management Agreement as do most management companies. You're welcome to review this document as well as our lease and tenant application at any time and without any obligation of committing to working with us.
Who holds the security deposits?The management company holds the security deposits in the management company's trust account. Any security deposits that you have should be forwarded to us. Any future security deposits that we collect will be deposited to the trust account.
How much security deposit do you charge the tenant? Can I also require the last months rent paid up front?We follow the norms of our area which is to charge a security deposit amount equal to one month's rent. Wisconsin law considers money collected for the last month's rent to also be security deposit money, so we do not charge last month's rent up front.
What should I do if a tenant contacts me?Please treat the tenants issue with the utmost respect and take very good notes about the issue. The best tenants are concerned about where they reside and make their home. By treating them decently they'll take better care of your property and live there for a longer duration. You are paying us to deal with the tenants, so please let the tenant know that you are going to forward their concerns to the management company and we will take it from there.
Can I go by and view my property?Yes, and we advise you to do this annually or minimally bi-annually. Please contact us three or four days before you want to go to view your property and will make the arrangements with the tenants and bring you through the premises.
How soon can General Property Management LLC begin working with me?We can start the process immediately. Contact us so we can find out more about you and your property and see if we would be a good match for your wants and expectations. Please contact us if you have other questions or wish to discuss letting us handle your property.