Category: Nashville Property Management

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.

3 Tips To Rent Your Nashville House Fast


Spencer Sutton - Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Want to rent your Nashville house fast?

Rent Your Nashville Home FastUnfortunately, there is no silver bullet when it’s time to rent your Nashville house.

And to highlight the issue, the most common questions we receive at gkhouses is, “How long will it take you to find a tenant for my home.”

This is a valid question. And it’s a question that you need to consider even before renting your home.

But while it’s a valid question, it is also a tricky one. We don’t believe that there is a clear-cut answer to the issue. How quickly you rent your Nashville home depends on several factors.

In this article, we are going to discuss three tips to rent your Nashville home fast.

1. Price

You may feel this is a bit too obvious, but I can promise you that it isn’t. When we bring this point up to owners, a lot of time they dismiss it because they have a set price in their head for rent.

No matter what your neighbor receives in rent or what your friend told you should charge if it’s not market rent, you won’t rent your home fast.How To Rent Your Nashville House Fast

Prospective tenants are smart. And they don’t necessarily want to pay more than they need to for rent. Especially if they’re signing a one-year lease.

That is why your rental home price needs to be what the market is willing to bear. In Nashville, it’s especially important because if you start off too high, your best prospective tenants could find something similar for less down the road.

Even in a hot housing market like Nashville, finding a great tenant fast is no guarantee if your home is not priced right.

2. Product

Your home is the product. In our article about how to keep a tenant for 20 years, we specifically speak about the house is an essential factor.

Not just in the way you present and market the home, but also in the layout. A house with a funky floorplan, a steep driveway, and a next to a busy road usually won’t rent in the first ten days.

The perfect tenant for this home is not the everyday tenant. It is going to take one that is special.

We also like to stress to owners how important it is for the house to be in great shape. Many homeowners (especially if they’re investors) want to save money. We understand the importance of stretching your dollar.

However, providing a tenant with a great house to live in might increase your chances of keeping them for a long time.

I have personally had tenants in my houses for over nine years. One of the reasons they have stayed so long is that I provided them with a great home from day one.

A simple tip is to look at the paint job in your bedrooms. If you have children and one of the rooms is pink, you may consider painting it a neutral color. Your goal is to appeal to the broad market of potential tenants who can afford your home.

3. Time of Year

It’s true, our Nashville property management business picks up tremendously in the late spring. Everyone knows that the summer is the best time to sell a house. The same is true if you want to rent your home.

Your chances of finding a great tenant increase starting in May. It’s not surprising since most people prefer to move in the summer.

Sometimes they prefer to move because of school schedules. Or they may prefer to move during summer because of the beautiful weather. No matter the reason, if you have the opportunity to rent your Nashville house during summer, it’s your best bet!

Conclusion

If you want to rent your Nashville house fast, think about the three things in this article – Price, Product, and Time of Year. These are the three factors that will most determine if your house is on the market for a few days or for several weeks.

If you would like to speak with our Nashville team leader, call us at (615) 925-3880 ext 3. You can also fill out the form on this page.

Nashville Property Management vs Self Management


Spencer Sutton - Wednesday, May 30, 2018

You may be trying to decide between self-management or using a Nashville Property Management company for your rental house.

Nashville property management vs self managementI’m glad you found this article because that’s what we’re going to break down.

Weighing the advantages and disadvantages closely, one can easily see that it is not all about how much it costs.

When you consider the headaches of dealing with middle of the night maintenance calls, late payments, tenant complaints, and understanding your local landlord-tenant law, it can seem a bit overwhelming.

To these people, it may make sense to look for a Nashville property management company that can take tenant calls, schedule maintenance, and collect rent. All while keeping landlord-tenant law compliant.

To others, however, they enjoy the hands-on nature of managing rental property. And having the opportunity to trade their time for a more in-depth understanding of managing rental property makes sense.

The Case For Self-Management

You are intimately aware of all aspects of the rental process.

Some owners enjoy and want to know everything that is going on with their house and the tenant.

Hiring a Nashville Property Management firm might give you advantages in many ways, but it won’t give you 100% clarity on the day to day operation of your rental.

For that hands-on ‘in the business’ clarity, it is best to manage the property yourself.

You will be involved in marketing and advertising, showing the home, processing applications, signing leases, collecting rent, and managing maintenance. This process will give you insight into your rental business that you won’t have if you hire a Nashville property management company.

You will keep more of the monthly rent for yourself.

One of the first questions a prospective owner asks us is, “How much are your fees?” It’s a good question and an appropriate question. But the point here is that no matter which Nashville property management company you hire, you will be paying something!

It could be a flat fee per month or possibly a percentage of monthly rent. But the point remains, you will forfeit some of the rent each month to pay your property manager.

Some property owners may need the extra money to help cover a mortgage each month. Also, some owners may want to manage their property so that they can reinvest what they would have paid in fees back into their rental business.

Whatever the case, if you manage your property, you will save those monthly management fees and can use them how you feel best for your situation.

You have the opportunity to hand-pick your tenants.

If you manage your rental property yourself, you are responsible for finding a qualified tenant. Now, if you’re a homeowner without rental experience, this can be a daunting task.

What if you put a tenant in your home that has a prior eviction on his or her record? What if your tenant falls on hard times? How will you address this with the tenant? This issue can be especially nerve-racking if your tenant is a friend or relative.

However, if you have a well-defined process for screening prospective tenants and do not fall prey to using your gut feelings, this can be a positive experience.

Also, you will need to understand and follow the Fair Housing Act. Adhering to this act will make sure you do not discriminate during your application process.

You can evaluate and hire maintenance people to do work on your home.

Hiring a maintenance person will give you control over the work and presumably the cost of each repair. If your HVAC goes out in the summer, you will choose the HVAC contractor that appeals to you.

This kind of hand-picking your maintenance person can happen even if you hire a property manager, but it will depend on the property manager’s agreement with you.

Some managers say you must use their preferred vendors or staff while others are ok letting you bring your contractor to the relationship as long as they do quality work.

If you have a lot of experience with property maintenance, then this would be an advantage because a property manager is most likely going to charge a fee to manage the maintenance project.

The Case For Hiring A Nashville Property Management Company

You will not be mired down in the day to day of managing rental property.

For the busy person who is not an expert at managing rental property, this will be good news! The Nashville property management company you hire will handle all of the details and keep you informed of the most critical aspects of your rental house.

  • Marketing information
  • Applications
  • Leases signed
  • Rent collected
  • Maintenance issues handled
  • Monthly accounting

This service can save a rental house owner many hours and a lot of stress and headaches. There’s a reason why the majority of property managers manage less than 300 houses. It’s because managing rental homes is a tough business and you need to be able to handle the stress and conflict in a professional manner.

You trade a management fee for your time and save the emotional stress of rental property.

Hiring a professional Nashville property management firm is going to cost you a monthly management fee, that is true. But to the owner who is looking for value, this will be a no-brainer.

Some owners don’t have the expertise to market a home. Much less screen tenants, review leases, collect rent and manage maintenance. To these owners, the monthly management fee is money well spent.

When you hire a Nashville property management company, they act as your agent and handle any issue with your tenant or home.

And if you own rental property long enough, you will have times of conflict with your tenant. This situation alone may be worth the monthly management fee you will pay a Nashville property management company.

You significantly reduce your risk and liability by allowing a professional to screen your tenant.

A Nashville property management firm will more than likely screen tenants in at least three of these five ways (we do all five):

  1. Credit – A good manager will have what they consider to be a baseline credit score and possibly some exceptions if a tenant agrees to a more substantial security deposit
  2. Employment verification – This allows the property manager to ensure that they haven’t recently (within the past weeks) lost a job that the income verification would miss.
  3. Income verification – Having a minimum ration of income to rent is advisable, and your Nashville property management company will have years of experience on what ratio works well.
  4. Criminal background check – We believe in second chances, but our owners would rather that second chance not come at their rental house’s expense.
  5. Previous property management referral – Asking questions like, ‘Would you rent to this tenant again?’ is an objective question that every former landlord or property manager finds easy to answer – yes or no!

A professional will know how to screen in a way that follows the law and dramatically reduces the risk that you will have a delinquent tenant in your house.

A professional property manager will mitigate your risk when it comes to maintenance on your rental house.

For the ordinary landlord, having a company with trusted staff or vendors who can work on your house is great. A trusted maintenance crew can end up saving you thousands each year. We have many owners who come to us only after a horrible situation. It usually happens during a rehab or if there is a complex maintenance issue.

If you are not careful, you can end up paying for shoddy work that only serves to make your tenant more unhappy and eventually leave.

The goal of owning rental property is to keep tenants long-term so that you don’t have to deal with expensive and complicated rehabs. If you bumble and fumble maintenance, that is a recipe for losing a good tenant.

A good Nashville property management firm will have trusted vendors or staff in-house. This expertise will give your tenants the assurance that you are looking after their best interests.

For instance, at gkhouses, we have a maintenance guarantee for 12 months. If something breaks within 12 months of us fixing it, we will make it right at no additional cost.

That kind of guarantee can give you peace of mind that you’re receiving quality work that will last.

Conclusion

No matter which decision you make for your situation, you can succeed owning rental property in Nashville.

If we can ever do anything for you, give us a call at (615) 925-3880. You can also fill out a form on our site.

Your Guide To Hiring A Property Manager In Nashville


Spencer Sutton - Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Are you considering hiring a property manager in Nashville?

Hiring a property manager in NashvilleIn this guide to hiring a property manager in Nashville, we’ll discuss issues that you need to consider before you make a decision. Some of these issues will be obvious while other matters we address will be more obscure but no less significant.

Whether your an investor or an individual homeowner, we hope this article will help you make the best decision about hiring a property manager in Nashville.

In almost all cases, having a professional property management company take care of your real estate is wise. A competent Nashville property manager will make your experience both simpler and safer than managing the property yourself.

For starters, there is a long list of administrative, legal, and financial issues that you will need to take care of when you decide to rent your home.

And unless you plan on making property management your full-time job, and you have some experience in landlord-tenant law, this can be an unnecessary risk.

Plenty of people manage their personal rentals, and this article will also help you decide if you should or if you would be better off letting a Nashville property manager handle it for you.

And if you choose to manage the property yourself, at least you have thought through the relevant details!

Property Management in Nashville, TN

The tremendous growth in Nashville over the past 20 years has made it a target for commercial developers and residential real estate investors alike. The opportunity to buy and hold houses that experience double-digit appreciation has drawn national attention to the city.

Rental prices are also increasing steadily. At the same time, taxes remain somewhat reasonable.

A case for using a proper manager in Nashville:

So why would you want to hire a property manager in Nashville to handle your rental house?

The primary advantage of any property manager in Nashville is their vast knowledge and experience. They understand the local rental market and have developed reliable systems and processes over the years.

These systems and processes address everything from marketing your home to efficiently collecting rent each month.

A good manager will have systems and processes for almost every aspect of their business. Including answering your questions and making sure you feel comfortable with their ability to manage your home.

The goal of offering proven systems for some of the most critical tasks is to ensure that you can maximize the potential of your property.

You will also benefit from the city knowledge of the local manager as you have a shared interest from the get-go. A great property manager will try to accomplish these goals for you:

  • Find the best market rate for your home
  • Market your home quickly and on as many websites as possible
  • Process applications carefully to screen out any potential problem tenants
  • Sign a Tennessee landlord-friendly lease

These benefits coupled with saving your time may be enough to convince you that using a property manager in Nashville is your best bet.

Property Management Fees:

When picking out a property manager in Nashville, one of the first things you will be considering is the cost. You will want to find a manager that offers a pricing package that you are comfortable with paying.

This could be a flat percentage (like our gkhouses pricing plans) or a percentage based fee for services.

Flat fee pricing has become more popular in recent years. Our own decision to move to flat fee pricing came after eight years of a percentage based fee.

We felt the move turned out beneficial to our clients. If someone in Nashville who rents their house for $1,500 per month can receive full-service property management for $85 per month, that is a good deal.

The percentage-based pricing has been around for many years and is still the most common method of pricing.

What about other costs?

Maintenance Costs

It’s our experience that most owners underestimate the amount of maintenance that their property needs.Nashville property manager maintenance

The Nashville rental market may play a role in owners not seeing the value in regular preventative maintenance costs. When a tenant vacates a house, it is easy to rent it quickly.

With this, the owner may believe that it is in 100% rentable condition when, in fact, the tenant doesn’t want to risk losing an affordable house in their desired location…so they rent it without voicing concern over maintenance issues.

Not only will you have maintenance issues when a tenant moves out, but you will also face maintenance issues during a tenancy. This is to be expected and should factor into your budget.

One of our services is a quarterly inspection of rental houses. Our Property Manager Technicians walk properties once a quarter and send reports back to our owners. This report highlights any maintenance issues we believe the owner should be aware of in case they would like to fix something before the tenant complains.

The property manager in Nashville you choose may have a maintenance department, or they may outsource all of the work and manage the vendors for a small fee.

It’s essential that you find a company that you feel comfortable can handle your maintenance in a manner that will preserve the value of your rental house investment.

Leasing and renewal fees

Most property managers in Nashville will charge what’s known as a ‘leasing fee,’ or a ‘lease up fee.’

This fee typically covers the following services:

  • Taking marketing photos
  • Posting on their website as well as syndicating to other favorite sites
  • Showing your property to potential tenants
  • Processing applications
  • Choosing your tenant and having them sign a lease

Leasing fees typically range from half of the first month’s rent to a full month’s rent. And the fee is only charged when your property manager places a new tenant.

The renewal fee is charged when a current tenant agrees to renew the current lease for another 12 to 24 month period. Renewals are essential because they help give you the security that you will have a tenant for at least another 12 months.

In our renewal process, we reach out to you, the owner, 120 days before the lease anniversary date and ask if you still want to rent the home for another 12 months. This is your opportunity to say ‘no!’

Once we hear from you, we reach out to the tenant 90 days out and confirm they want to renew the lease. If we don’t hear from them right away, we reach out 60 and 30 days out as well.

The renewal fee is typically much less than the leasing fee and is usually a flat fee. Our renewal fee is between $0 and $200 depending on which package of services you choose.

Eviction Services

If you ever face the unenviable task of dealing with a tenant who stops paying, you may need to file for eviction.

The eviction is something your property manager in Nashville will handle, but you will incur the expense.

You may be thinking, ‘If my property manager does a great job at screening my tenant, I shouldn’t have any evictions.’ In theory, that is correct.

However, a tenant can fall behind for many reasons that will never surface during the application process.

Here are a few reasons:

  • Loss of job
  • Divorce
  • Personal crisis

There are many reasons that a person, a good tenant, could fall behind.

In that situation, your property manager should handle the process of posting a notice and following the law until they are out of the home. However, you will be responsible for court costs, attorney fees, and any set-out charges that may be a result of the eviction.

Additional Considerations

Besides pricing, what should you look for in a Nashville, property manager? Here are some helpful questions you need to ask before hiring your property manager:

  1. Do you offer any guarantees with your services? A manager could guarantee tenant performance, maintenance, or some other aspect of their management services
  2. What is your eviction rate? The fewer the evictions, the better their screening process
  3. What is your occupancy percentage? If they have a high percentage of vacant houses, their leasing may be lackluster
  4. What is your tenant screening process? Ensure you believe they are correctly underwriting your tenants
  5. Do you have a collections process? If so, please explain.

Those are just some questions you should ask. To see all 27 that we identified, check out this article.

There may be several other questions you have in regards to Nashville Property Management. Reach out to us at (615) 925-3880 ext 3 if we can ever be of service.