Property Owner FAQs
Once we’ve decided to work together, the next step is to sign a property management agreement. Your Realtor®/sales consultant will prepare this document and send it to you digitally for signatures. As soon as that is signed, your assigned account manager will contact you for onboarding.
- Our focus on education. We believe the best way for a rental investor to be successful is through knowledge. This includes teaching our clients on such topics as: what it takes to be a good steward of your home; taking care of tenants so they take care of your property and stay longer; being financially prepared for the costs of owning a rental property; choosing the best properties to buy; and many more.
- We don’t just “babysit” your property—we actively seek to help you save money and make money. This includes maintenance troubleshooting that leads to simple no-cost repairs performed by tenants; protesting your property taxes; choosing the best qualified tenants (not the first qualified) as this allows us to get you more rent when applicants bid for it competitively; sending air filters to tenants (at no cost to you) to protect and enhance the life of your HVAC system; and having a Resident Benefits Package that rewards tenants in various ways for on-time payments.
- We keep the most critical functions of property management in house and don’t outsource them. There are companies that will vet applicants, lease homes and handle maintenance for us but we don’t use them. We know that the best way to ensure quality, timeliness and accuracy is by performing these key services ourselves. It creates a greater connection with our tenant community and ensures that we know what is going on so we can better serve you.
- You pay your mortgage, property taxes, insurance and HOA dues and we do the rest! This includes getting your home ready to rent by handling all repairs; leasing it and finding you great tenants; handling maintenance issues; disbursing rent to you directly into your bank account monthly along with a rental statement detailing income and expenses; and sending you year-end statements with 1099s for tax purposes. We also handle lease renewals, we work with a property tax protest company to protest your property taxes, and we provide a weekly blog to educate you about rental investment issues.
- Above all, we offer peace of mind. No late night or holiday calls for emergency repairs, no dealing with tenants paying rent late, no searching for vendors to handle maintenance, no need to know the laws affecting real estate and property management. We simply handle all of that for you and more. In fact, our systems and processes have been designed for you to be hands off.
- The reserve ensures that we have funds available to pay for repairs between the time rent is disbursed to you one month and rent comes in the next month. Part of having great vendors who respond quickly to our work orders is paying them timely, and most simply can not wait a month to be paid. Having the reserve allows us to pay for their valuable services quickly so they continue to prioritize your rental property.
- Occasionally repairs exceed the amount of the reserve and in those cases we will request that you deposit funds into our bank account. Thankfully most repairs can be covered with the reserve amount.
- This is such an important question because homes are like living, breathing organisms that require ongoing maintenance and do break down at times. While we don’t know what repairs your home will need or when, we do know that your home will need them. Some of them may be costly and won’t be covered by insurance, such as an old, leaking roof.
- While many repairs will be covered by the rent we collect, we can not stress enough how important it is to create a financial cushion set aside specifically for your rental home/s for costs that exceed rental income. In addition, particularly if you have a mortgage, you need to be prepared in case a tenant pays rent late one month or not at all, or if there is an extended vacancy. We recommend that you have a minimum of 3–6 months’ worth of rent set aside.
- To emphasize how important having proper finances for your rental property is, we’re going to take this a step further and let you know up front that we don’t take on clients who can’t take care of their properties, and we don’t keep clients who won’t. In working with us, you agree to keep up your property based on our expert knowledge of what needs to be done. During a make ready, this might include significant repairs, so we need you to be prepared for that and ready to provide the funds. In return, we promise to protect your investment, be mindful of your wallet, and spend only what’s necessary.
- When it comes to federal taxes, we track all income and expenses on your property that go through us and, each January, provide a year-end income statement to you. We will also email you a 1099 showing all rental income. Together, these documents can be used to prepare your own taxes or can be sent to an accountant. You will also want to provide your expenses on mortgage, taxes, insurance and HOA dues.
- You’re responsible to pay your property taxes, but we’ll protest your property taxes for you through our tax protest affiliate. The third party company we work with works on contingency, so if they don’t get you any savings, you don’t pay for the service. We’ll handle the entire process for you and cover the cost of the service fee with rent income, so it’s as easy and hands-off for you as can be.
- We are required by law to rekey the locks in between occupants. This is true regardless of who was the previous occupant, including yourself. The locksmith provides us with a number of key copies that we keep in a locked key box. We don’t send you a copy to protect both you and the tenants. It protects you by ensuring that you don’t violate the terms of their lease regarding notification, and protects the tenants from that potential violation.
- One of the important factors in ensuring our ability to be successful on your behalf is by enforcing the lease and having a single point of communication for the tenants. If you want to visit the property, please contact us to ensure proper protocol. We will meet you at the property and provide you with access.
- If there are inspectors or appraisers who need to gain access, please let us know and we’ll arrange it. If in the future you decide to sell the property or move in, we’ll make sure all the proper parties have keys.
- We here at SmartEgg are animal lovers and Austin is a pet town! We welcome pets. It’s your decision, though, whether or not you want to accept them but please know that if you say no to pets you are most likely decreasing the pool of potential tenants by quite a bit since approximately 70% of renters have pets. It has been our experience that homes take longer to rent when pets aren’t accepted.
- We mitigate the risk by having applicants fill out a third-party pet screening application and collecting a pet deposit for each animal. The pet screening company evaluates risk based on factors such as type, breed, size, age and status of vaccinations. They come up with a risk score, called a FIDO score (cute, right?), and rank animals 1–5 paws (also cute). The pet deposit we collect varies from $350–500 per animal depending on their FIDO score. It is rare for damages, if any, to exceed the security and pet deposit funds we have on hand.
- If you do accept pets, we’ll need to know if your insurance company has any size or breed restrictions, so please be sure to find out and let us know. SmartEgg will otherwise accept any size or breed, as we believe it is the pet owner who determines the behavior of the animal and not the size or breed.
- Emotional Support Animals (ESAs): ESAs are not considered pets and, as such, we can not deny people who have them, even if you have a no-pet policy (except in rare instances that have to do with hardship to you—please contact us if you believe that applies). We also can not collect a pet deposit. The tenants are nonetheless responsible for any damages the animal incurs and we can use the security deposit to cover them.
- You may be aware that ESA certificates are easy to buy online, even though those certificates are bogus and invalid. Our third-party pet screening company verifies all ESA requests and determines if they are legitimate. If the animal turns out not to be an ESA, the tenant may still have the animal (if you accept pets) and then is given a FIDO score and pays a pet deposit.
The property is owned by multiple people—can you deposit a percentage of the rent into multiple accounts?
Yes, we can do this. Each owner who will receive a percentage of income must provide us with a completed W-9 form and ACH Authorization form (available in the Resources page of our website), and let us know what percentage of income goes to each owner. We’ll take care of the rest.