Answers to the Top Ten Landlord Questions

With over 35 years as a leader in the industry, Specialized Property Management has the answers to your questions as a property owner. We’ve compiled the top ten most frequently asked questions from clients with the hope that this information will show why partnering with us is the smart choice and help you build a successful rental property investment.

The Top Ten Most Commonly Asked Questions

    1. How do I get my property rented out more quickly? Make sure the property is rent ready by rekeying the home, installing a lock box, cleaning, and repairing the property as needed. Market the property aggressively across dozens of sites and local outlets to find qualified and reliable applicants. Specialized Property Management, one of the best property management companies in Atlanta, GA, with their proven leasing process, can help you find the most reliable tenants who can shorten vacancy times and save you money on average.
    2. What can I do to make sure my property gets and stays rented? A well-maintained property and proactive tenant retention efforts are paramount to keeping your tenants happy and rent continuously coming in. By addressing maintenance requests from tenants promptly, you will not only reduce your risk of liability, you will also improve retention as renters will feel respected when you respond to their needs. Many tenants consider Specialized Property Management one of the best property management companies in Atlanta, GA, because of our resident rewards program. Our program encourages tenants to pay their rent on-time so you can rest easy. As a result of these combined efforts, our clients enjoy longer than the average tenancy.
    3. How can I make rent collection faster and less stressful? Having a clear and established process for rent collection makes it easy for tenants to supply their rent promptly. By offering electronic payment options, tenants can easily pay rent online. This allows owners to receive funds quickly via electronic deposit. This is coupled with an automated collections process, which is initiated if payment is not received, and collects rent and late fees in a firm but fair manner. With our proven system, our clients get paid faster and have peace of mind.
    4. How can I better protect myself legally as a landlord? Navigating the multitude of laws and regulations attached to rental property ownership can be not only overwhelming but also costly if handled improperly. That’s why many investors choose to hire Specialized Property Management, one of the best property management companies in Atlanta, GA, to stay abreast of local, state, and federal law to reduce liability, avoid litigation and costly expenses. Strong legal counsel, proactive attention to compliance issues and high ethical standards helps out clients reduce their risk.
    5. How can I keep maintenance costs down? The best way to keep costs down is to be proactive about catching small issues before they become expensive problems. That’s why we recommend performing regular property inspections and seasonal maintenance, which can save you money over time. With our 24/7 maintenance response team and vendor partnerships, you will have access to national discounts and preferred pricing on repair services, appliances, and materials needed to keep your property well-maintained. Our clients enjoy more cost-effective maintenance than those who self-manage.
    6. Should I manage my own rental property to save money? Even if you have the time, energy, and expertise needed to do it well, many clients learn the hard way that it can cost more to self-manage. The responsibility of managing the property from offsite can be fraught with difficulties, such as legal expenses, longer vacancies, and hassles. At Specialized Property Management, one of the best property management companies in Atlanta, GA, we’ve streamlined the management process to reduce costs and ensure the highest quality of service for both our clients and tenants.
    7. Won’t professional management fees hurt my cash flow? When you consider costly mistakes that can be made without professional management, it is easy to see how these fees pay for themselves over time. At Specialized Property Management, our reasonable management fees save you money by offering faster leasing, cost-effective maintenance, higher tenant retention rates and fewer mistakes overall.
    8. How will I know what is happening with my property on a regular basis? At Specialized Property Management, one of the best property management companies in Atlanta, GA, we guarantee transparent communication with our clients along with 24-hour support. We provide our clients with 24/7 access to their personalized online portal where owners can view financial statements, rent collection history, and disbursement reports, as well as maintenance work order status updates. This means that our clients can review every detail of their property anytime, from anywhere in the world.
    9. How do I choose the best property manager? When selected a property manager, it’s imperative that you ask the right questions and don’t be afraid to ask for references. Your rental property is a large investment, so it is vital that you avoid unscrupulous or incompetent property managers. As one of the best property management companies in Atlanta, GA, we want you to compare! Ask us for a comparison checklist as you interview your options.
    10. Why should I trust Specialized Property Management? Put simply, we offer our clients unsurpassed customer service and tenant satisfaction. This dedication to service keeps our clients on the road to success. With over 35 years of experience, Specialized Property Management is committed to the providing the best property management services available. We do all of this while maintaining the highest standards, affordable fees, and no hidden charges.

Choosing Among the Best Property Management Companies in Atlanta, GA

When you partner with Specialized Property Management, you can rest easy knowing that you have the support you need to be an excellent landlord. Put our experienced team and proven process to the test. Call today to schedule your appointment with one of our friendly agents and see how easy and hassle-free working with us can be.

The Most Common Avoidable Mistakes Made by Real Estate Investors

Every investor who chooses to put their money into the real estate market wants positive cash flow. This is the best case scenario. They meet with real estate agents, run the numbers, make an offer, and wait for the returns. But it’s not that easy. If it were, everyone would be doing it. Fortunately and unfortunately, many factors play important roles in determining the success of a rental property. If you do it right, you’ll be sitting pretty. You do it wrong, and it could turn into a money pit. Atlanta residential property management company, Specialized Property Management, has gathered data on the most common mistakes that real estate investors make, but are avoidable.

Preparing the Property

You’ve closed escrow on your rental investment property, and now it’s time to prepare it for a tenant. If you purchased a turnkey property, your list of preparations would be minimal. But if it’s a fixer-upper, you’ll be spending a lot of time and money getting your property rent-ready. During the rental preparation process, Atlanta residential property management teams follow a thorough checklist, and we recommend you do too.

    • Rekey the door locks
    • Replace or clean flooring
    • Inspect all plumbing for leaks (including flooring and walls for any water damage)
    • Replace light bulbs or light fixtures as needed
    • Test all appliances and window coverings to make sure they operate safely and correctly
    • Check countertops and cabinetry for any damage
    • Hire professional cleaners
    • Don’t forget about curb appeal. It’s the first thing potential renters see when they pull up to the property. Remove any weeds, mow the lawn, and show a little TLC to the flowers and trees.

Pricing the Property

It’s at this point that many investors make a critical wrong turn. You want the highest rent price for the market, but if your rental is priced too high, your property will sit vacant for too long. Every day your house sits empty, it’s money out of your pocket. Atlanta residential property management companies play an essential role at this step in the process. At Specialized Property Management, we take pride in our market analysis research to ensure your property is listed at a competitive price that gives you great cash flow but also gets the property rented quickly. We compare square footage, amenities, location, rental guidelines, and rules. On average, our vacancy times are shorter than other management companies.

Leasing the Property

Everything from marketing to showings to placing a tenant needs to be done with careful consideration. The last thing landlords want is to approve an unqualified tenant that ends up costing them legal fees from an eviction or property damage. Our professional Atlanta residential property management team has the highest standards when it comes to leasing and tenant screening. Clients can expect professional communication and viewings of the property from our staff. We require that every applicant who is 18 years and older fill out an Application to Rent and submit proof of income. Specialized Property Management goes to great lengths to verify employment, check rental history, and conducts credit, background, and criminal checks on applicants. Our staff keeps all communication professional and polite to avoid any negative tenant interactions or high turnover rates. We’ve found that when we treat our tenants and property with respect, our tenants return the favor.

Inadequate Rent Collection Process

Collecting rent payments is something Atlanta residential property management companies and private landlords do every month. So why dread the inevitable if there’s an easier way. Specialized Property Management utilizes Automated Clearing House deposits. That means your rental money is submitted and transferred electronically from bank account to bank account. Homeowners get paid faster and more securely than ever before. At Specialized Property Management, residents pay rent online through their tenant portal. We’ve found this process helps rent payments arrive on time.

Poor Rental Property Selection

From the get-go, we suggest you do your research to know where you want to purchase your rental property in Atlanta. Residential property management teams can help you remodel a house, but they can’t change the location that it’s in. Consider the location of your property, and if you can afford it, single-family homes tend to appreciate better than condos. Pick a house that is located near good schools and surrounding neighborhoods with quick and easy access to major roads. Fenced yards are good selling points, along with an open and general floor plan. Houses with funky floor plans tend to be quick turn-offs for renters.

Know the Laws

Atlanta residential property management companies are required to know the housing laws. But some companies are either not up to date on the laws or are simply negligent. Specialized Property Management follows all state and federal housing laws carefully to limit liability. We carefully document with date and time stamps all maintenance requests, tenant interactions, and any accommodation requests. We seek legal advice when dealing with Unlawful Detainers to ensure the eviction process is carried out legally.

Residential real estate can be a profitable investment if handled correctly and managed well. New investors often underestimate the time and knowledge it takes to manage a property. Avoid headaches, hassles, and costly mistakes. Call Specialized Property Management today to learn more about our comprehensive list of services and put our professional team to work for you today.

Prevent Safety Hazards and Get Organized in Time to Enjoy Summer

The sun is out, the air is warm, and the colorful flowers are blooming, giving you the itch to open up the windows, get outside, and soak up the nice weather. Atlanta rental management companies like Specialized Property Management are no stranger to the toll the winter weather takes on the interior and exterior of your apartment, home, and landscaping. Spring cleaning helps you keep a well-maintained property and prevents damage before it costs you a fortune in repair or replacement fees.

10 Steps for a Routine Safety and Health Check

Whether you’re talking about health or real estate, prevention is the best way to go. Just as you would schedule routine health screenings and check-ups, you should conduct routine safety checks of your property to prevent hazards.

    • Check all handrails to make sure they are safely secured to walls and fixtures. Local fire departments often conduct this type of inspection at apartment complexes. If you are the homeowner or renter, it’s a good way to keep yourself and your tenants safe. Clean out debris from rain gutters, so rainstorms don’t create pooling or flooding on the property. Gutter cleaning can also be outsourced to vendors.
    • Inspect carpeted areas for edges that are lifting or buckling. This presents a tripping hazard and should be properly secured.
    • Check bathroom glass shower doors and toilet seats to ensure they are securely and safely fastened. Glass shower doors can easily come off track, and making certain they are gliding easily along the track can prevent a safety hazard before it happens.
    • Atlanta rental management companies should inspect all electrical outlets and make sure they do not feel warm to the touch. Carefully look at all plugs and wiring to see that nothing is frayed and that no outlets are overburdened. For more information on how to prevent electrical fires, click here.  
    • Replace batteries in smoke, carbon monoxide, and security alarm systems. Push the “test” button on each device, so you can rest easy knowing you’ll be alerted in case of an emergency.
    • Vacuum and clean all interior and exterior air vent filters. This includes the vents behind the refrigerator, television, cable box, air conditioning unit filters, and more. Atlanta rental management companies know that vacuuming and dusting these vents and filters can prevent fires. Replace range hood filters as well, as these get grease build up from stove-top cooking during the winter months.
    • Open and close all doors and windows to see that they close, seal tightly, and lock properly. Apply lubricant to squeaky hinges, tighten screws, and check for any mildew growth along the edges of windows. The warm interior air that hits a cold window in the winter time is a perfect environment for mildew and mold growth. Clear out the window weep holes so excess moisture can drain.
    • Clean out drains and disposals. One of the most common maintenance issues landlords and rental companies hear about are clogged tub drains. The majority of the problem comes from clogged hair in the drain. Snake tub drains, so your residents don’t have to stand in a pool of water while showering.

Spring Cleaning Keeps Tenants and Atlanta Rental Management Companies Happy

Spring is a great time to schedule maintenance and make repairs. Specialized Property Management in Atlanta, GA, wants to keep tenants happy. We’ve found that performing routine maintenance checks ensures residents are not left without air conditioning in the hot summer months, heat in the winter months, and keeps everyone safe from hazards on the property. Residents alike get that extra pep in their step when they declutter, organize, and show tender loving care to their rental. Filter through your closet and donate any items that you haven’t worn in a year. Neatly package and put away the coats, gloves, snow boots, and beanies until the next cold season. When tenants and Atlanta rental management companies work together and both care for the property, everyone is happy.

Reward Yourself

All work and no play will cause you to dread spring cleaning. Once you’ve finished your checklist of routine safety checks and decluttering, you should reward yourself with a fun day. Get outside, go to a park, lake, or spend a day shopping (now that you have a little more closet space).

For more information on how Specialized Property Management can keep your property well maintained year-round and limit your liability, call us today.

Tenant Move-Out Procedures that Ensure a Smooth Transition

Whether you’re moving onto your next rental or into your newest home purchase, Specialized Property Management is here to make the transition out of your current rental home as seamless and stress-free as possible. As the leading rental property management Atlanta, GA, has to offer, we have created a few guidelines to help you prepare for your move out, once your lease has come to an end.

Preparing to Move Out

After you have given your leasing agent final notice that you intend to move out upon your lease expiration, it is time to prepare the property. Per your leasing agreement, you must return the rental property to a good and clean condition, much like it was upon your move in. At Specialized Property Management, the rental property management Atlanta, GA, residents trust, we recommend that you contact your leasing agent for a detailed checklist to ensure that you are meeting your lease terms’ move out procedures. Here is a brief overview of the of the items that need to be cleaned and addressed throughout the home before your move out date:

Remove all personal items – This includes all furniture, fixtures, and hardware that you brought with you into the home. Please replace all items that were original to the home at the time of your move in. Don’t forget to walk through the garage and remove your items! Many people forget about this important step.

Remove all trash from the premises –  It is vital that you arrange to have all trash removed from the property before move out. Be sure to remove any trash or items from the recycling bins as well. You should also schedule one final trash and recycling pick up with your service provider before you discontinue service and remove your name from that utility.

Thoroughly clean appliances – In addition to wiping down countertops, stovetops, cabinets, and drawers, you are responsible for cleaning the interior and exterior of these common appliances:

    • Microwaves
    • Oven
    • Range Hoods
    • Refrigerator
    • Washer & Dryer
    • Trash Compactors

Clean and disinfect bathrooms – Paying careful attention to sinks, toilets, and showers, use non-abrasive solutions or solvents to clean each bathroom. Don’t forget to wipe down all mirrors and faucets to remove water spots, dirt, and grime.

Clean all flooring – We recommend that you have the carpets professionally cleaned. It is also imperative that you wash and remove all stains or marks from non-carpeted floors.

Wipe down walls and windows – Wash all windows on the interior and exterior of the home as well as securing all screens upon completion. When tending to the walls, be sure to wipe them down with a simple solution of water and dish soap. Don’t forget to wipe down hallways, baseboards, and light switch plates and clear out any cobwebs.

Yard care and clean up – If your lease agreement stipulates that you are responsible for lawn care, then you must trim and remove debris from the yard and mow that lawn before your move out.

Repair damage –  If you, your pets, or your guests have caused any damage to the home during your stay, you must repair or replace what has been damaged before moving out.

On Your Last Day

The day has finally come. Now you must completely vacate the property with all of your belongings. Once that is complete, tenants are asked to return all keys (including spares, mailbox keys, etc.), by noon on the final day. It is important that you make sure that you schedule all utilities to be taken out of your name on the last day of your lease agreement. This ensures that the property is ready to have its new tenants coordinate utility services upon their move in without interruption.

Common Move Out Questions

As the premier rental property management Atlanta, GA, residents count on for quality customer service, we want to answer some frequently asked questions regarding what happens after you move out. Common questions include:

When will I receive my security deposit refund? The residential lease agreement that you signed at move in explains, in detail, the agreed upon refund procedure. It also describes ways you can avoid incurring additional charges upon move out.

What is considered normal wear and tear of a property? You will not be charged for ordinary wear and tear of the property. Ordinary wear and tear are considered to be the natural and gradual deterioration of the property over time that is the result of the tenant’s normal use of the residence. The extent of the damage, length of residency, and character and construction of the building are all considered when determining what is considered ordinary wear and tear.

What kinds of damage might I be charged for? Damage beyond ordinary wear and tear will cause you to incur additional charges, such as:

    • Negligence – This refers to damage that could have been avoided. This includes issues that escalated and caused greater damage as a result of the tenant’s failure to report it promptly to the owner or rental property management. Atlanta, GA, tenants are encouraged to always report issues as soon as it is noticed to protect the property as well as uphold the lease agreement.
    • Abuse You will also be charged if you knowingly abuses or misuses the property. This includes making changes to the property without written approval.
    • Accidental Damage – Even though the tenant didn’t intentionally damage the property, they are still financially responsible for the damage.

The Rental Property Management Atlanta, GA, Residents Depend On

For more than 35 years, Specialized Property Management has helped families and individuals transition in and out of rental homes with the utmost professionalism. We hope that you have enjoyed your stay and that we have been able to answer your questions regarding the move out process. We wish you all the best in the future. If you have any further questions, please contact one of our friendly representatives or visit your local office for more information.

Tenant Move-In Procedures that Ensure a Successful Stay

As a new tenant with Specialized Property Management, we want to ensure that you have a successful stay in your new rental home. We have developed a detailed move-in process that establishes open communication and appropriate expectations for both tenants and landlords. During this time, you will receive everything you need to know about the move-in process in our resident manual. As one of the leading Atlanta property management companies, we strive to make the transition into your new home as easy and seamless as possible. Here is what you can expect from us when you sign your lease:

Lease Signing Meeting

After your application has been selected and processed, you will meet with your leasing agent to sign your lease and receive your keys. At this time, your agent will also hand you a copy of your Resident Manual. It is essential that you retain this manual throughout your stay so that you may refer to it as needed. It contains vital information regarding basic rules for renting the home, tenant and landlord responsibilities and expectations, as well as important contact numbers. We recommend that tenants set aside about an hour for the meeting so that they can review the documents in detail and ask any questions that may arise. Our team at Specialized Property Management values clear communication, and we want to ensure that you feel confident and comfortable moving into your new home.  

Walking Through the Home

Once you have reviewed the welcome packet given to you by your Specialized Property management leasing agent and received the keys, you will be given an Inventory and Condition form to fill out. Please walk through your new home as you complete this form, being sure to take pictures of any issues you note. Once you complete the Inventory and Condition form, email the form and photos back to your Specialized Property Management leasing agent within five days of your move-in date. It is important to note that this form remains in the leasing department, so if you see anything that needs repair or maintenance during your walkthrough, please submit a separate request through your the online tenant portal.

Caring for the Home

As one of the most trusted Atlanta property management companies, we are eager to work with you to ensure that the home is properly maintained so you can enjoy living in it throughout your lease. That’s why it is important to lay out the responsibilities of both the owner and resident clearly to avoid miscommunication or delayed requests.

Resident responsibilities include:

    1. Setting up utilities in your name upon move in.
    2. Keeping the home clean and tidy.
    3. Caring for the landscaping and lawncare.
    4. Performing minor and seasonal maintenance (replacing light bulbs, furnace filters and refrigerator water filters).
    5. Compliance with all HOA, local, and state property laws, rules, codes, and regulations.

Owner responsibilities include:

    1. Providing a thoroughly cleaned home that is safe and ready for new tenant occupancy.
    2. Rekeying all doors in the home that lead to the outside.
    3. Compliance with all state and federal laws regarding safety detectors in the home (fire, smoke, CO2).
    4. Supplying a copy of the HOA rules and regulations to the tenant for review (if applicable).

Paying Rent or Requesting Maintenance

Like most Atlanta property management companies, Specialized Property Management wants to make it easy for you to pay your rent on time. That is why we provide you with access to your private tenant portal where you can submit your rent online each month via a checking account or debit or credit card. You can even set up automatic recurring payments to ensure on-time payment and peace of mind. When maintenance or a repair is needed, you can log in to your tenant portal or call our maintenance hotline and speak with one of our friendly representatives to submit a ticket.

Building Great Relationships

Another way we set ourselves apart from other Atlanta property management companies is how we reward our tenants for on-time rent payments. When it is time to move out, Specialized Property Management offers a complete rent payment history and letter of recommendation upon request. This can help you in renting your next home. It can even help you when you are ready to purchase a home, as mortgage lenders often look for evidence of on-time payment history.

A Standout Among Atlanta Property Management Companies

At Specialized Property Management, we strive to provide tenants with the best-renting experience. By providing an easy-to-use tenant portal, 24/7 tenant support, and superior maintenance services, we make renting a home hassle-free. You can learn more about renting from Specialized Property Management by referring to the Resident Manual you received from your leasing agent. Call our customer care line if you would like to speak to one of our representatives and enjoy your new home!