Month: September 2018

How much do you charge for maintenance?


Matthew Whitaker - Sunday, September 30, 2018

Hey everybody. Matthew Whitaker here.

Gonna catch up with you again, Questions Owners Ask.

Today’s question is, how much do you charge for maintenance?

So, really before we get into like numbers I think it’s important to understand there’s two types of maintenance.

One is service work.

This is kind of like a toilet breaks, a tenant calls in, roof leak, you know, there’s service work type things and then there’s project based things like turning a house, replacing a sewer line.

And so those are the two types of work orders. So, one of the things… Wanna jump into service work first. Service work we charge out by the hour. So, we charge a labor rate plus materials.

You can ask us what our current labor rate is when you talk to us, but basically we charge one labor rate for kind of handyman type work and then a slightly higher labor rate for licensed work, work that requires a like a plumber’s license or heating and air license to do.

Then we charge out materials and we do make a markup on the materials depending on what the materials are. So, that is service work.

Project work is a little bit different.

This is where it’s kind of a bigger project. It takes a little bit longer.

We’re gonna have to kind of jump in and do…you know, it’s kind of an unknown, always…I heard a guy that owned a construction company for a long time saying this is a guesstimate, you know, everybody says an estimate, it really is a educated guess on how much it’s gonna cost to get it fixed.

But what we do is we give you a exact price and then we kind of take the risk, on if you will, of that scope of work.

Sometimes we get better and make money doing it. Sometimes we get worse and lose money doing it.

But the whole goal is over the course of time we’re able to even that out and manage that risk to where we make a little bit of money doing that.

So, that’s how much do you charge for maintenance.

I hope that’s helpful. If you need some exact numbers obviously we’re here to help.

Would love to talk to you about that.Thanks.

I’m Matthew Whitaker with Questions Owners Ask.

What does a good tenant look like?


Matthew Whitaker - Sunday, September 30, 2018

Hey everybody. Matthew Whitaker here.

I’m gonna do another installment of Questions Owners Ask. Today’s question is, how do I know what a good tenant looks like?

So, the first thing I want to talk about is a history of paying their bills on time. There’s a lot of landlords that actually won’t even look at credit score like they don’t think it’s very important.

I think this is really silly because like credit score is just a reflection of how well they’ve paid their bills in the past.

And I mean huge companies use credit score like mortgage companies and car finance companies, and for landlords to just basically brush it off like,

“Oh I don’t look at credit score,” it seems kind of weird to me.

So, I think you should look at the credit score. I think you should see if they paid their bills in the past.

Second thing is, do they have any outstanding debts with previous landlords or management companies?

If you get a credit report you can literally see sometimes they may have decent credit but they have landlords that that they’ve left owing money, maybe a couple hundred dollars here or a thousand dollars there but I mean do you want that to happen to you?

Do you want them to leave owing you money? Obviously not.

The third thing is, do they pose a threat to your home, like do they tear up houses or do they pose a threat to the community, like the people around?

Oftentimes we do criminal background checks. I know a lot has been said about criminal backgrounds lately from a fair housing standpoint.

Obviously, don’t want to do anything that’s against fair housing but want to make sure that you’re not moving someone in that could be a threat to the house or a threat to the people who live there. So, that’s it.

That’s what I think a good tenant looks like.

Obviously, one that pays the bills and takes care of the home and is a good neighbor to the people around them.

Thank you so much.

Matthew Whitaker with Questions Owners Ask.

Can I leave a room or basement off limits to the tenant to store my stuff?


Matthew Whitaker - Wednesday, September 26, 2018

What’s up everybody. Matthew Whitaker here.

I wanted to shoot a video, about a question I got received recently regarding rental houses and the question this owner asked is . . .

“Can I leave like a room or a basement off limits to the tenants, and leave some of my stuff in it?”

So, the answer is an absolute, “yes,” but let me tell you what the caveat is. I wouldn’t do it. I don’t think tenants really like it.

They don’t like to not have full access to the house.

We’ve had owners do this in the past but the tenant doesn’t feel like they fully are living in the house when you make a room or basement off limits.

This is obviously done a lot in short-term rentals, but in long-term rental homes, like the homes we manage, it’s just not a very popular thing to do.

When we tell tenant prospects who come to look at the house, this typically frustrates them.  It may even frustrate them to the point where they don’t rent the house.

Hope that’s helpful. Matthew Whitaker with gkhouses.

What are the different types of property managers?


Matthew Whitaker - Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Today’s question is, “What are the types of property managers that are out there?”

So there’s a bunch of different types and classifications of property managers.

I’m gonna hit four of them that I think are kind of the most popular.

The first one is commercial managers.

Commercial managers handle properties like industrial, office, mostly items for businesses.

That certainly takes a certain type of property manager to run those.

It’s very important to know that most people don’t do all of these well. There are managers who focus specifically on individual ones.

I do know a few that handle a bunch of them.

But, to handle each one well, it really takes a lot of talent. Commercial managers will handle a lot of business type assets.

The next one is, HOA management.

So this is becoming more and more popular especially in places like Nashville that are growing really fast with new homes and neighborhoods being built.

A lot of these communities are being handled by HOAs, and so managing those HOAs has become a real big business.

Obviously, these HOAs have boards and they need someone to help them manage. Someone to help them with the accounting, help hold all the people that are part of the HOA accountable to doing what the HOA documents say.

The third thing is, multifamily management.

This means like apartment communities.

This is kind of big assets all in one place, a lot of tenants in one place, a property in one place. It takes a certain type of manager to manage a multifamily asset.

And then the last thing is, what we do, Single-family residential management.

This has traditionally been a cottage industry, but it’s starting to change. There’s starting to be some more regional property management companies out there.

This is due to, not to get too in the weeds, but due to technology. So single-family management is managing a bunch of different houses in a bunch of different places with a bunch of different owners.

So those are the four types of management. I hope this was helpful. This is “Questions Owners Ask” I’m Matthew Whitaker with gkhouses.

Thinking of renting your home? Use this 4 step process to tell what your home will rent for.


Matthew Whitaker - Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Today’s question is,  “How much should my home rent for?” So let’s look at some things that determine that.

Local, on the ground knowledge of what homes have rented for.

Is there a house near you that you know of that’s rented recently?  Because that’s a very important data point for us to know.

Can you ask them how much they rented their house for?

This “boots on the ground” data is something that is very helpful when determining how much your home will rent for.

What homes are currently available for rent in your neighborhood?

One of the best ways to determine how much your house will rent for is to pretend you are a tenant looking in your area.

Much like a tenant would, determine a budget and find out what you can rent in your neighborhood for that budget.

In “tenant mode” we’ll start comparing your house to the available options.  To determine which house we would rent for that budget.

For example, if I have $1,500 a month and I wanna to live in this neighborhood, what are my options?

Now, if I look at those houses, and those houses are better than my house, obviously I know I need to price it lower than those.

If my house is better than the available options, I’ll know I have two options:

  1. Price it along with the others and mine should be the next home that leases.
  2. Price it slightly higher and be willing to find a tenant who wants to lease a nicer home in that area.

So a lot to think about but one of the things people need to remember is renting is a snapshot in time.

Unlike selling where there’s historical data. Where an agent can help determine how much to pay for a house.

Renting is very much a snapshot in time where a renter says, these are my top three priorities: whether it be a school system, an area, a neighborhood, a number of bedrooms, a number of bathrooms.

Once they see a house that meets that criteria, that fits in their budget, then they’re gonna spend the money and rent the house.

What does the Zestimate say your home will rent for?

Some people think that’s crazy, the Zestimate is too low, the Zestimate is too high.  What’s interesting about the Zestimate is for tenants it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.

In other words, if the Zestimate says a house is $1,300 and we’re asking $1,800, then we’re going to have to overcome what the Zestimate says.

And a tenant will look at that and say, “Well that house is obviously overpriced because the Zestimate says it is.”

So it becomes a little bit of a self-fulfilling, self-perpetuating issue for determining what your house will rent for.

The closer you can get to what Zillow says your home will rent for, the less friction you’re gonna have to overcome to rent your house at that price.

Are you getting showings and applications?

I’m not talking about calls. Calls are a dime a dozen. You’ll probably get tired of answering the calls.

Are people coming to see your house?

Let’s say people are coming to see the house but they’re not putting in applications. What they are saying to you is, “I’m willing to live in a home in this area but there’s something about the house that doesn’t meet my criteria.”

We say this home has a price or a product problem.

If I’m getting tons of people to see the house and no applications, then generally what we have is a product problem.

A tenant is willing to pay the price to live in this neighborhood, but the product that may not be market value.

Is there a product issue that we can change?  If the answer is yes, then we change the issue.  Types of issues like this are ugly paint color or the home is dirty.

But if it’s nothing that I can change, then I might need to drop the price down to the actual product to start generating applications.

If it’s something I can change, obviously, we change it and then hopefully everything’s good.

What if I am getting applications?

Generally, everything’s healthy in that standpoint. Sometimes it’s just a numbers game, you got to work through the numbers to find the approved applicant.

But if you’re getting a ton of poor applications, and this is over the course of a long period of time, then it may be overpriced because unqualified applicants are saying,

“Well, this is the best bet, I’m willing to pay more to live in a product that may not be market value.”

So those are the four things I would look at when pricing your home.

This is “Questions Owners Ask.” I’m Matthew Whitaker with gkhouses.

What do property managers do?


Matthew Whitaker - Wednesday, September 26, 2018

The question I’m gonna conquer today is, “What do property managers do?”

The first thing I wanna talk about is there’s really four things that I think are important about property manager.

Property Managers help with Leasing

Leasing your home, understanding how to lease your home, understanding how to market your home, most importantly understanding what a great tenant looks like.

I think a lot of times owners that to try to do it themselves will fall victim to tenants that tell them stories that will lead them down a path and they end up feeling sorry for them, and they rent their home to the wrong person.

So marketing and leasing the home are some of the most important things we do, finding the right tenant, putting the right tenant in your house.

Property Managers help with Accounting

I think a property manager should be really good at accounting and communication.

Obviously, we’re dealing with your money. Tenants are paying us rent, we’re paying you the money after that.

Doing a good job of accounting for all the monies that are sent to us, making sure we hold the tenant accountable to paying the rent on time, and making sure that they pay the right rent are all imperative skills a property manager should possess.

That also gets into communication, us communicating the accounting to you is very important and we have systems for doing that.

Property Managers help with Tenant Management

Another area a property manager should be an expert in is tenant management. From managing the tenant to understanding landlord-tenant laws of the local state, that’s a full-time job keeping up with, because it’s constantly changing.

I always tell people just because you rent your house to somebody and don’t know a law exists, does not mean you don’t have to follow that law. So understanding the state-specific landlord-tenant law is a huge thing property managers take care of for you.

Property Managers help with Maintenance of your Home

We work on a lot of houses. We understand how houses break. We have a lot of internal vendors and we also understand what things cost to get fixed correctly.

And so those are the four things, the four things again are leasing accounting, tenant management, and maintenance.

I hope this was helpful, this is what does a property manager even do.

I’m Matthew Whitaker with gkhouses.

Can I rent my home if it has a swimming pool?


Matthew Whitaker - Saturday, September 22, 2018

Hey, everybody. I’m doing “Questions Owners Ask, and today’s question is, “I have a swimming pool in my backyard. Can I still rent my house?” So the answer to that is an absolute yes, but I think there’s a few extra steps that we’ve gotta take.

The first thing

We’re gonna have to do is make sure that you have adequate insurance to cover a renter in your house with a swimming pool, so it’s very important that you talk to your insurance company.

Make sure your insurance company knows it’s gonna be a tenant, that it’s not you living there.

I think there’s a lot of insurance companies that actually won’t let you have tenant insurance and a swimming pool, but you need to make sure that you’ve got a policy that’ll cover that.

And also, you need to name us, if you’re one of our clients, as an additional insured on that policy.

The second thing is

We’ve gotta get the pool addendums signed by the tenants.

So this kind of sets the pool rules, so to speak, and allows us to make sure we hold the tenant accountable to taking care of what they’re responsible for taking care of.

Third thing is

That we ask that the owner is responsible for having a pool service come and service the pool on a consistent basis.

We don’t wanna leave that up to the tenant because typically, they don’t do it as frequently, or if for some reason they don’t do it, we don’t want them to mess up the pool, the owner to get mad.

So we just think it’s best if the owner handles that.So that’s it. That is questions that owners ask. Today’s question was, “What if I have a pool in my backyard? Can I rent my house?” Thank you.

What are average property management fees?


Matthew Whitaker - Saturday, September 22, 2018

Hey. What’s up, everybody? This is Matthew Whitaker here. I’m back with questions that owners ask. Today’s question is, “What are average property management fees?”

So really, I think there’s two main types of fees we need to talk about.

One is what is a management fee? And there’s two types of those. And the other one is kind of the other fees that are associated with property management.There’s really two types of management fees.

One is a percentage-based management fee,

Meaning a property manager collects money for…that’s a percentage of the rent they collect. A lotta times, you see somewhere between 8% to 10% for this number. A lot of it depends on some of the other fees that they charge, but in general, 8% to 10%.

Now, gkhouses, we do a flat management fee, meaning we don’t care how much the house rents for. What we care about is just charging a monthly, flat fee. And so generally, it’s cheaper than a percentage, but we thought it was…

You know, if you had a $1,500 house or a $1,000 house, the change in management wasn’t that much. And so we felt like it was just fair to charge you for what we were working for, and it didn’t make sense that 10% of $1,500 was $150, and 10% of $1,000 was just $100.

We aren’t working any more for the $1,500 house than the $1,000 house, so we charge a flat fee. So there’s percentage and flat.

The next thing is all the ancillary fees that property managers charge. Two of those I’m going to talk about today. First one is a leasing fee. So generally, property managers charge a fee when they rent the property.

So this goes for all the marketing, the showing of the houses, the underwriting of the applications, and then choosing an appropriate tenant for your house. That’s called a leasing fee. Sometimes, people call it a procurement fee.

The second one is a markup on maintenance.

So a lotta property managers will charge a markup on the maintenance that they do to handle that maintenance and deal with the vendors and those types of things.

So today’s questions was, “What are the average property management fees?” I’m Matthew Whitaker. I hope that helps.

What do you do to screen a tenant?


Matthew Whitaker - Saturday, September 22, 2018

Hey, everybody. Matthew Whitaker here. I’m shooting another video called questions that owners ask. As you can see, the sun’s setting on me, and I’m in Dallas, Texas in a hotel room. So I thought of this question. We got this question from an owner recently. “What do you do to screen a tenant?” was, I believe, his question.

And so the first thing we’re gonna look at is credit score.

A lotta property managers actually say that you don’t need to look at a credit score. I think that is silly.

Why wouldn’t you look at a credit score?

Because basically, it’s just a score of someone’s ability to pay their bills. It is determined for the very reason that huge companies are looking at credit scores to give mortgages, give car loans.

Like, why wouldn’t we use a credit score if we have access to it?

It is, literally, a number that is indicative of whether this person paid the bills, and we want them to pay the bills. So credit score is the first thing we look for.

Second thing is an eviction check.

Has this person ever been evicted? We will allow someone to have one eviction if they paid off everything. So sometimes, things happen in people’s lives, but two evictions is a no-no. One eviction without paying it off is a no-no, so an eviction check is the second thing we look at.

The third thing we look at is income verification.

We wanna make sure that that person makes enough money. We look for three times the gross monthly rent.  There are some caveats to that. We kinda reserve the right to change that if the person has a lot of commitments, like…crazy things like child support or huge car loans or tons of car loans, but typically, it’s three times the gross monthly rent.

And the last thing we look at is criminal background check.

Fair Housing’s been kind of cracking down on this. Let me just say this so I don’t get in trouble.

What we say is we don’t want this person to be a threat to the people that live around the house in the neighborhood, and we don’t want this person to be a threat to the property.

So we do have a process for underwriting criminal background checks, but we can get into more detail, if you’d like, with that. So this is questions that owners ask. This question is, “What do you do to screen a tenant?”

If I am a real estate agent, why would I work with gkhouses?


Matthew Whitaker - Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Hey there. Matthew Whitaker here. Another segment of “Questions Owners Ask.” Today I’m talking about real estate agents. So, “If I’m a real estate agent, why would I work with gkhouses?”

Well, the first thing I’d like to talk about is how you can use us a resource for information. Sometimes your owner’s house just won’t sell and you need rental information on that house.

I mean, the last thing you wanna do is lose that listing. You want that listing to be able to come back to you one day and you may need some information to understand, to help the owner make the best decision for themselves.

The next one is, you certainly don’t wanna turn the house over to somebody who’s not a reputable management company. And that’s what we are. I’ve been managing rental houses for 15 years, I’ve been doing it for others for almost 11 years. So you wanna turn it over to somebody who knows what they’re doing.

And the last thing is, for real estate agents, there is a $555 referral fee that we pay for each house you refer to us. So not only is it in the client’s best interests sometimes, but it’s also in your best interests financially.

So that’s it. That’s “Questions Owners Ask.” Talking about real estate agents today, “If I’m a real estate agent, why would I work with gkhouses?” Thank you.

Common real estate investing mistake – quitting your day job


Matthew Whitaker - Tuesday, September 18, 2018

What’s up, everybody? Matthew Whitaker here.It’s late at night, and I just wanted to shoot a quick video. This video is called “Why I Would Not Quit My Day Job.”

Oh, let me get it straight. Oops. Sorry about that.

And one of the things I think a lot of real estate investors do incorrectly is they don’t have, like, a day job that allows them to invest and grow their rental house business. Also a lot of people wanna jump into, like, full-time real estate investing. And you can certainly do that, but you need to create a day job that creates income that allows you to do all your investing. That way you’re not having to eat out of your business.

Where I see a lot of people get in trouble is when they’re having to eat out of the cash flows of the business.

The business, something goes a little bit wrong, and then all of a sudden they kind of get off track.

So, what I would say is, don’t quit your day job. So, you know, work during the day, invest on the nights and weekends, or have something that’s creating income as a day job that allows you to invest without having to eat out of your rental properties particularly when you’re getting started.

That’s it. Thanks. Matthew Whitaker here.

How long does it take to evict a tenant in Birmingham Al?


Matthew Whitaker - Tuesday, September 18, 2018

What’s up, everybody? This is Matthew Whitaker, and this is questions owners ask. Today’s question is, “How long does it take to evict a tenant in Birmingham, Alabama?”

So, as I was thinking about this, I was, like, man, that’s just such a horrible subject to have to talk about, especially in Birmingham, Alabama. I mean, we’re a lot longer than most areas, so the quick answer is, it usually takes about 90 days from start to finish in Birmingham, Alabama to evict a tenant.

I know that’s hard to believe. But, you know, in Tennessee sometimes it’s, like, 30 days. Arkansas it’s, like, 30 days. But in Alabama it’s, like, 90 days. And, you know, whether it’s an eviction because nonpayment of rent, or it’s an eviction because of the tenant’s not living up to the lease, like, destroying the house, doing drugs in the house.

I mean, it can take up to 90 days from start to finish. Typically, the court process only takes about 30 to 45 days, depending on when you file the unlawful detainer, after you place the 7-day notice.

But then the sheriff is very far behind, typically far behind in Birmingham on how long it takes them to get the tenant out. So you may have the ability, legally, to get the tenant out, but you may not get the opportunity to get them out until the sheriff comes and sets them out.

So, this one is, “How long does it take to evict a tenant?” I’ll do more of these. Matthew Whitaker at gkhouses. Thank you.

How do I build a portfolio of rental homes?


Matthew Whitaker - Tuesday, September 18, 2018

What’s up, everybody? Matthew Whittaker, here. I’m doing questions owners ask.

Today’s question is:

How do I build a portfolio of rental homes?

So this is something I’ve done. I actually started and bought my first rental home when I was 23-years old. And so this is something I’ve been doing for a long time, 15 years actually, in October. So that’s pretty exciting to me that I’ll be have done this for 15 years.

This first thing

I would do is define your area. I always tell people when I’m getting into buying houses, or if you were getting into buying houses and I was giving you one piece of advice, I would tell you to focus and become an expert on one certain area.

I see a lot of people that get, kind of, what I call Walmart disease, where there’re just an overwhelming amount of houses out there and it’s hard to sort through all of them. I would find a specific area and become an expert on that.

Second thing

that I would do is to be consistent when you’re looking in that area. So become very disciplined about looking. So number one, you know the area. Number two, when you see a house come across that is in that area that you know’s a good deal, that way you can act very fast.

So being consistent, looking on a daily basis, or at a minimum, every 48 hours of all the new houses coming on the property will help you buy more houses and build a portfolio.

Number three,

Purchase consistently. Don’t do one and done. You know, I always tell people, hey, get to ten houses because at about ten houses this business starts to kinda take care of itself. The cash flow takes care of itself. And it becomes a very kinda self-sustaining business.

Now there may be a time you have to put a little more money into it, but generally speaking, the cash flow takes care of itself at ten or more houses.

And then the last thing

I would say is think stabilization. Any time you kind of get off-kilter don’t try to keep buying, buying, buying. Stabilize your portfolio. Typically somebody may get off-kilter from a cash flow standpoint or get too many houses going at one time. Think stabilization.

The whole idea of rental property is that it’s kind of steady-eddy stable business and if you think stabilization, you’re never going to go wrong.

Again, Matthew Whittaker. Questions owners ask. And the question today is: How do I build a rental portfolio?

I am a real estate agent, how much do i make for referring you a house to rent?


Matthew Whitaker - Tuesday, September 18, 2018

What’s up, real estate agents? Matthew Whitaker here.

Wanted to give you a heads up about something I’m really excited about.

We’re trying to improve our relationship with real estate agents. So, for right now, if you refer a house to us, and once we lease it, so, it’s maybe a house you can’t sell, or a client that you have that you know has rental properties, we will pay you $555 per house you refer us, once the house is leased. So, I think that’s pretty exciting. I think that’s way more than anybody else is paying in the market.

And I hope you’re as excited about it too. So, if you have a client that you don’t wanna lose, maybe they don’t have enough equity in their house, maybe you have a client that you’ve helped buy a bunch of rental property, I hope you’ll contact us and let us rent the house, manage the house, and then give the client back to you.

You make $555 when we lease that house.  Thanks so much. Matthew Whitaker with gkhouses.

May I pick the tenant that goes into my home?


Matthew Whitaker - Tuesday, September 18, 2018

What’s up, everybody? Matthew Whittaker here.

Short video on questions owners ask. So, the question I’m doing right now is, “Can I pick the tenant that goes into my home?”

I mean, this is a logical question, because, I mean, you know, you wanna know who’s going into the home that you’ve lived in and you wanna make sure that it’s a good tenant.

The answer is, if you use professional property management, generally the answer’s no. Reason being is because we have to abide by federal fair housing laws, and if we let you pick, we could get in trouble from a fair housing standpoint.

Now, I know you wouldn’t intentionally do anything from a fair housing standpoint, that you would intentionally violate it, but we could get into issues where we unintentionally violate fair housing laws. And so we can’t open ourselves up to that.

So, you know, what we hope is that you’ll use our expertise, our history, our ability to pick the right tenant, and let us do our job. And, you know, we’re really accustomed to finding really good tenants. So, that’s the answer to, “Am I able to pick my own tenant to go into my house?” Thank you.

What is it like to work for gkhouses?


Matthew Whitaker - Tuesday, September 18, 2018

What’s up, everybody? Matthew Whitaker here. I’m traveling today. I’m doing a video for all our prospective team members. Super excited about it.

What you need to know about working with us. So, I’m gonna give you the good, the bad, and the ugly about what it’s like to work with gkhouses.

One of the things and I think if you ask our team members they think is that there is more work than time to get things done. This is feedback that I’ve been getting for years from our team members. We always think we’re gonna get over the hump, and we just realize, hey, there’s just more work that needs to get done than there is time to do it in a day.

So, if you like to be somebody that buttons it up and wraps it up by the end of the day and leave with kind of everything off your plate, then gkhouses may not be the right place for you.

But if you love to have so much going on and a bunch of crazy things happening, and you love to be knocking out tons of work, then gkhouses is probably the right place for you. We have a high-performance expectation. In other words, we expect a lot out of our people. We don’t apologize for that.

I mean, we want some really high-performing people. You’ll be in a culture around a lot of people that are high-performing, so if you’re a high performer who likes to be around a lot of other high performers, and have a high expectation of yourself, then gkhouses may be the right place for you.

Team leaders. So, those of you that are applying for our team leaders. So, we have an operations to team leader, accounting to team leader job posting that we’re putting out there.

If you’re gonna be a team leader that works for us, you need to go run a market for us. Like, your tenure at gkhouses will be an absolute fail if you don’t ultimately go run a market for us. So, when you’re interviewing for this, please ask us a lot of questions about what that looks like.

We expect you to go run a market in about 24 months. So if you’re not doing that, then the work is gone for naught because we really need you to go run a market.

The last thing I would say is you are gonna learn more working here than at any other company. I mean, if you’re a team leader, you’re gonna learn about leading, how to lead people.

You’re gonna learn about growing a business. I think there’s so many things to learn about growing a business. You can do that on our dime. And the last thing is about being an entrepreneur.

We love entrepreneurs. We have a culture of entrepreneurship. We have a core value called entrepreneurial spirit that we really believe in. And so, this is just a little bit about working with us.

Hope you enjoyed the video.

Where should I market my home for rent?


Matthew Whitaker - Tuesday, September 18, 2018

What’s up, everybody? Matthew Whitaker here. I’m shooting another “Questions Owners Ask,” and today’s question is, “Where should I market my home for rent?” Babe, you’re in my shot here. Scoot over a little bit. Thank you.

First place is

I’m shocked at how many times the old yard sign just happens to work, so I’d definitely put a yard sign out front.

Second thing is Zillow and Trulia.

It’s very important that you get your house on there. I would say the majority of people find their rental house on one of those kinda major sites that pop up. Zillow, Trulia, HotPads, those are the kinda most famous ones. They typically, when people are searching for houses, are some of the first ones that pop up.

The third one is Craigslist.

It amazes me that Craigslist is, like, this old, archaic website, but it still gets a ton of leads. People are still using it, much like the old newspaper, and so people are on Craigslist actually finding homes for rent.

The fourth place, and the last place,

Which I think’s interesting and probably the one that’s kinda the gotcha is Facebook and the Nextdoor app. We’ve seen a lotta people and talked to a lotta people that are starting to use this to rent their homes, and so I highly suggest posting it in the Facebook Marketplace and the Neighborhood app. I don’t know if you’re familiar with this, but it’s a very local, social-media type of app.

So that’s it. That’s “Questions Owners Ask.” The question was, “Where should I market my home for rent?” Thank you.

Why is it important to have local property management?


Matthew Whitaker - Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Hey, everybody. Matthew Whitaker here.

I’m doing “Questions Owners Ask”. Today’s question is, “Why is it important to have local property management?” So, why is it important for the manager to be local?

First thing is local knowledge of the market. How do you know what things rent for? How do you know what houses in the area do? What’s a good street? What’s a bad street? Having a local manager that is familiar with the area is so super important.

Number two, local maintenance vendors. The kind of big boy property management companies typically don’t have local maintenance vendors. We actually employ our own maintenance vendors, so they’re obviously local. And, you know, having eyes and ears in that house for you that work for us is very important.

The third thing is a local trusted brand. So, renters rent from people that they trust. And if you have a local trusted brand, then your house is probably gonna rent faster. In other words, they already have a cycle of tenants that are coming through that you’ll be able to tap into that.

So, today’s question was, “Why is it important to rent from a local property management company?” I’m Matthew Whitaker with gkhouses.

My tenant isn’t paying rent what do I do?


Matthew Whitaker - Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Hey everybody. This is Matthew Whitaker here. I’m looking at myself, and I’m realizing that I look a little bit like a vagabond. Please forgive me. It’s the weekend, but I had a video for “Questions Owners Ask.” I think it’s an important video.

This is a question we get all the time. A lot of times people will call us when there’s a problem. The biggest problem when they’re self-managing that people call us about is, “My tenant isn’t paying rent. What do I do now?”  So, somebody decided to self-manage their house, which is great. I mean, a lot of people do that. But you run into some trouble when the tenant stops paying rent.

The first thing I think it’s important to know is the state-specific landlord-tenant law. So, typically, states have written laws that deal with this fact. I mean, obviously, the biggest reason for a break of a lease is somebody doesn’t pay the rent.

So, first thing I would do is understand your state and what the law says about it. There’s typically notice provisions. In other words, you have to give notice to the tenant and actually tell them that they’re not paying the rent. I know that sounds funny.

But that’s the way most states handle it. And then there’s a time that goes through, you know, in Alabama it’s seven days. In Tennessee, it’s another set of days. But there’s typically a time you have to give them before you can start the eviction process. But make sure that it jives with both state-specific landlord-tenant law and also your lease.

The second thing I would suggest is, which is kind of that next elevation, I may even do this first, is hire an attorney who’s familiar with the state-specific landlord-tenant law. Don’t just go to your local family attorney. Typically they don’t know what they’re talking about.

I would go to an attorney who’s used to doing evictions. Attorneys that do evictions do a ton of them. They have a process that they go through. They know all the laws. They know the judges. You’re gonna definitely wanna hire an attorney that is familiar with landlord-tenant law, familiar with these evictions.

The last thing, kind of a shameless plug but I honestly think it’s not a bad idea, is to hire a property manager to take over at this point. Typically, and there’s lots of great property managers in all the markets we’re in, so I’m not saying necessarily hire us.

But what I am saying is we’re familiar with these types of processes. We’ve actually taken over a lot of these situations from homeowners who have put poor tenants in there that aren’t paying the rent. So, this is not like a unique situation to us.

We already have the attorneys on speed dial that can kind of speed up this process. Why learn something new when you can literally hand it over to a professional and they can handle it from there?

So, again, that question is, “My tenant stopped paying rent. What do I do?” This is “Questions Owners Ask,” and I’m Matthew Whitaker with gkhouses.

Should I allow pets in my rental home?


Matthew Whitaker - Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Hey, everybody, Matthew Whitaker here and I’m doing “Questions Owners Ask,” and I’ve got Eddie here to help me. And the question, Eddie, yeah, the question is, “Should I allow pets in my rental home?”

So one of the things we’ve learned is over 60% of our applicants actually have pets today. So not allowing them in your rental home could be a challenge because you basically remove 60% of the demand for your rental home.

Now there are some dangerous breeds that we won’t allow in houses like Rottweilers and pit bulls. And if you have a Rottweiler or a pit bull and you wanna live in one of our houses, there are some workarounds from an insurance standpoint but typically, what happens is insurance carriers of the homeowners won’t allow those dangerous breed dogs to live in the homes. So talk to us if that’s the case. But typically, we don’t allow those.

Next is we will charge a pet fee. Pet fees vary, but we will charge a pet fee for the pet to live in the home, and sometimes we’ll even charge pet rent.

What do you think about that? Yeah, extra rent for you, Eddie. Obviously, the damage is gonna be accounted for when the pet leaves. Hopefully, the pet’s well trained. Damage is gonna be accounted for.

Now one important thing to note about pets. There are service animals and emotional support animals and actually aren’t considered pets and you can’t charge a pet fee or a pet deposit or pet rent for.

Now, if they damage the home, you can certainly account for it with a security deposit, but those are big right now, emotional support and service animals.

So, that’s it. That is, “Should I allow a pet in my rental home?” I’m Matthew Whitaker with “Questions Owners Ask.”

What do I need to do to rent my home?


Matthew Whitaker - Tuesday, September 18, 2018

What’s up everybody? Matthew, “What Occurred Here.” I’m doing questions owners ask. And today’s question is “What do I need to do to rent my house?”

So the first thing I think you need to know about is you need to make sure that your house is rent-ready. You know, some people think that the bar to renting their house is like less than selling their house, and to some degree that’s true.

I mean, the bar for a tenant to come rent your house is definitely, like, what they’re looking for is less than if they were buying a house.

But there are still some kind of basic things that I think people overlook when they’re trying to rent their house. One is it needs to be clean, second, it needs to be safe, and the third thing is it needs to look good.And so one of the things I think people forget is they think they can just rent a dirty, tired, old house, and that’s just not necessarily the case.

I mean, certainly if you rented it for almost nothing, you could probably get it done. But point, being if you’re gonna rent it for anywhere close to market value, I mean, it really needs to meet those three criteria. So first thing you need to do is make sure the house is rent-ready.

Next, you need to make sure you understand the market rate of the house, like, how much is the house gonna rent for? There’s two quick ways you can kind of know this, and the first one is understanding what’s going on in your neighborhood and knowing if there are any other rentals there.

You could certainly find this online. You can pull-up certain websites like Zillow or Trulia and see all of the houses in your neighborhood that are for rent. Also, I think that Zillow Zestimate, this is number two, Zillow Zestimate, well, some people are so frustrated by it.

You know, to some degree it’s kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy that when a tenant pulls that up and they see that, “Hey, Zillow thinks it should rent for this,” then sometimes it really does just because that’s what they think it should rent for. In other words, Zillow sometimes sets the market.

The third thing I think is to market your home, show your home, take applications in a proven application. This is probably the hardest step, I think, in the process because this takes a little bit of expertise. Like if you’ve never done this before, knowing where to market your home, knowing how to show your home, knowing what to look for on a tenant’s application before you approve somebody to live in your home.

But that’s kind of the next step in the process, is marketing the home, showing the home, getting applications, and approving an application.The last step is the move-in. The move-in process is very important. You want to basically account for what your house looks like before somebody moves into it.

The last thing you want to do is have somebody move out and swear that the house looked like that if they damage something when they move in.So making sure, people do this with pictures, videos, anything you can do to kind of make sure you know exactly how that house looked or you can tell somebody exactly how that house looked before a tenant moved in, I think that’s very important.

So this is Matthew, “What Occurred Here,” with GKhouses. I’m doing questions owners ask, and that was “What do I need to do to rent my house?” Thank you.