PROPERTY MANAGEMENT: FREQUENT OWNER QUESTIONS

Treehouse Group Property Management has a separate division that specifically focuses on home inspections. We know that it is critical that thorough and professional inspections occur frequently to insure your home is being cared for. During our inspections, the inspector does a complete write-up on the property and its condition. This includes a comprehensive write up and pictures taken of the interior and exterior of the property. If needed, the inspector will also change out the A/C filter to make sure the HVAC is being taken care of; these filters must be provided by the Owner. Once the inspector is done with his inspection, all the information along with the photos are passed to the Account Manager where the information is closely reviewed and then sent to the owner via e-mail so they will be kept up-to-date regarding their home.

In the management agreement the owner chooses how many inspections they want every year. The first inspection is free upon written request and each inspection thereafter is $50.00 . Unfortunately, most owners only choose to have their property inspected once a year, which is a mistake. We have clearly seen a financial savings to the owners that have their properties inspected every quarter. The financial savings is at the time of move-out; the properties are cleaner and have less damage than those that were only inspected once or twice a year.

Should I Be Searching For A Professional Property Manager?

Today, Arizona Real Estate still remains one of the best investment opportunities available. However, if you are holding income-producing property for cash flow or appreciation purposes, Property Management, either locally or at a distance can become a significant burden. Tenants today are far more demanding and expect that property be more than "just kept up." The laws regarding landlords and tenants provide for tenants to demand compensation when owners are not in compliance. Landlords have protection as well under the law however. We find so often that owners become frustrated and give up their rights just to get rid of the conflict. A professional Arizona property manager is a problem solver on a daily basis. Just like a doctor, he or she knows how to fix the situation based on past experiences . The wise investor spends time building a portfolio and hires the professional to use their expertise and time managing their investments. Treehouse Group along with their team of management professionals can provide you with full service management expertise to meet your specific needs. We specialize in professional Arizona Property Management of unfurnished and furnished single family homes Arizona rental homes including single family homes, duplexes, tri-plexes, four-plexes, apartments, town houses, condominiums, offices, retail and mobile home parks in Gilbert, Chandler, Mesa, Queen Creek, Maricopa, Phoenix, including Scottsdale, Sun Lakes, Ahwatukee, Tucson. We are licensed Arizona Real Estate Property Management professionals with over 30 years of combined experience. We began our business as investors in income producing property. We know and understand both sides of the spectrum and fully understand the requirements of each party. We realize there are many Arizona Property Management companies to choose from and we thank you for choosing Treehouse Group Property Management.

How much does it cost to have my house professionally managed on a monthly basis & and is there a leasing fee for a new tenant?

Monthly Management Fees: The monthly management fee depends on the number of homes brought into management, the location and the amount of rent that the homes will be grossing. Since the management fee can vary greatly, it is difficult to advertise an exact number, so we please ask for you to call us for an exact quote. However, it is a good idea to factor no more then 9.0% of the rent or from $50 on up per month to have your home professionally managed. There are many circumstances where this amount may be lower, so please call us for a free quote. If your property is in Scottsdale or Paradise Valley, you will want to call for a quote.

Leasing Fee: Treehouse Group Property Management has a leasing fee of $300.00. If the property is to be listed on MLS for other agents to bring potential tenants too, an additional fee of up to 4% of the yearly gross rent may be required. Please contact Treehouse Group to discuss these fees as they vary depending upon location, condition, and circumstance.

Do I need to worry about bad tenant's damaging my property?

This is the biggest fear in having a renter! The Treehouse Group Property Management team puts all applicants through an extensive credit check, background check (criminal), employment check, income verification, past landlord verification. If something doesn’t look right, we’re going to check into it! It is important for you to know that if we put the best-qualified tenant into your Phoenix metro area rental property it will definitely minimize the chances of having the property returned in poor condition. We also have found through many years of experience that a person with good credit will apply that type of responsibility to other areas of their life hence, less chance of them damaging your property. We have also found that quarterly inspections of the property help with preventative damages!

How do I get paid and when?

Treehouse Group runs a month end reporting for all clients. Rent is due from the tenant on the 1st day of the month. After the Treehouse Group receives the rent from the tenant, the rent is then used to pay any bills including the management fee or maintenance for that particular month. Once that is completed, the owner proceeds can be mailed or direct deposited into the owner’s personal account, typically around the 10th of the following month.

Do I need to leave any money in my account as a reserve?

Yes. You will want to leave $300 in your Property Management account for general repairs while it is occupied.

Do I authorize the repairs prior to being done?

Yes. Depending on the cost of the repair and the emergency behind it, the Treehouse Group per our contract will contact the owner for all repairs that may exceed $300 in cost. Important money saving tip: The owner or friend of the owner can be authorized to do the repairs on the property if desired.

Do I need to be present to sign a lease on my home and how long is the lease usually signed for?

Never. Treehouse Group has full authority to sign a lease on behalf of the owner once the Residential Property Management Contract is signed. The tenant's lease on the property is usually for one-year minimum unless the owner requests otherwise. One-year lease is standard in the industry.

How long is the contract between myself and Treehouse Group and can I cancel at anytime?

The management contract is established for one year and typically follows the term of the lease agreement. If you should need to cancel your agreement, the best time to do so is when the property is coming vacant. The contract automatically renews on an annual basis thereafter. The Treehouse Group is interested in being your property manager for as long as you use your property as an investment tool. Therefore, we desire to produce the best service and care for your investment while under contract with us.

How does Treehouse Group advertise their rentals to prospective tenants?

The Treehouse Group advertises through many different resources. Those resources include the Multiple Listing Service, Rentals.com, Hotpads.com, Real Rentals.com, CriagList, signage at the property, the Arizona Central, Realtors in the Industry, corporate housing (such as INTEL and MOTOROLA), PropertyNut.com, Homerentals.net, Google, Yahoo, mynewplace.com as well as our website. Furthermore, we have a full Real Estate Sales division, we are able to provide rental housing for those people that are in need of a home.

At the end of my agreement with Treehouse Group Realty, can they either sell my property to the tenant or put it on the market to sell?

Absolutely! Treehouse Group has over 30 years of combined real estate sales and marketing experience. Besides a full network of investors to market properties too, Treehouse Group specializes in retail real state to help meet your needs in sales.

Should I buy an investment property?

We feel very strongly that given the market today entry prices are some of the best we have seen in decades. With the foreclosure markets the way they are, we are helping investors purchase over 30 homes per month. Furthermore, with our rehab/ construction services we offer a one-stop shop to buy, fix, and manage their investments. We are investors ourselves and have found through the years, contrary to our stock investments, our investment properties have proven to have stable growth with limited liability. However, your investment requires good management and we feel that it is just as important as finding the right property.

Who should I use Treehouse Group to help find an Investment Property?

The Treehouse Group specializes in distressed real estate and investment type properties. With a full-time in-house controller and over 50 years of combined investment analysis, Treehouse Group is the perfect fit for maximizing returns. Treehouse Group specializes in being a one-stop shop in acquisition, rehab, management, and disposition. A lot of real estate agents and companies claim to specialize in investment properties, but Treehouse Group has the experience to back it up. Owning and managing over 3,000 doors of apartments, 1,200 spaces of mobile home parks, retail, office, land and hundreds of homes, Treehouse has consistently delivered returns that exceed investors expectations. Currently, most single family homes that are purchased and managed under our investment side are averaging a 13% Cash on Cash return. Call your Treehouse Group Property Manager to get your investment dollars working for you.

What percentage does the County increase property taxes?

There is a slight increase in taxes for non-owner occupied housing. Currently the taxes in Maricopa county are assessed every 2 years with approximate 2% increase. However, because of the current economic development within the real estate market, most are expecting taxes to decrease by as much as 30% over the next few years. Regardless of where property taxes go, our taxes are so reasonable compared to other parts of the country and will pleasantly surprise most investors.

Where are the best area’s to purchase investment property?

We personally are finding that valley wide offers good opportunities. We will help with your decision by providing the most up to date information on your particular spot of interest. Our main office happens to be in Tempe which is centrally located in the Phoenix metro area.

What makes the best rental house?

Fortunately, the Phoenix Arizona metro area has a large number of growing communities that can make your investment dollar grow with them. In most cases people want to rent homes where jobs, transportation, and good schools are available. Finding these quality neighborhoods in an area that will show continued growth is what our Property Managers can assist you with. So when you are considering buying a Phoenix rental investment property, please contact us prior, so we can put our Property Management team to work and find your next Arizona rental home.

What are the features that seem to be the requirement of prospective tenants?

In general, people want to rent clean quality homes in good neighborhoods. We have found that 3 to 4 bedroom homes between 1500 to 1900 square feet in size are the most desirable. Amenities such as nice window treatments, ceiling fans, landscaping with some grass, automatic sprinklers, and shrubs, along with the ever popular tile flooring instead of vinyl will lease the quickest.

Can you handle maintenance issues? Are you licensed? Should I have a home warranty?

Maintaining your home and its investment value, is a priority for the Treehouse Group, and that is why we created Landmark Maintenance Services. Any service needed for you home can be handled by Treehouse Group’s crews of contractors and technicians. However if you have a specific vendor you would like us to use , we will be happy to assist you. In some cases you may want to utilize a home warranty company. These service contracts can benefit an owner by stabilizing maintenance costs over a one-year period. The warranty contract is often included in the purchase of an existing home.

Who is responsible for yard work, pest control, air filters, light bulbs, etc?

The tenant is responsible for all of the above based on their lease agreement. Some owners elect to continue to have the yard maintained at their own expense or have a quarterly service to make sure it always stays in top condition. Some properties will qualify for our lease agreement that has a nuisance clause making the tenant responsible for any maintenance charge under $75.00 that they could have taken care of themselves.

How often is my home inspected?

Treehouse Group Property Management has a separate division that specifically focuses on the home inspection. We know that it is imperative that a ‘real’ inspection occur every quarter to insure the home is being cared for. During our inspections, the inspector does a complete write-up on the property and its condition. This includes a comprehensive write up and pictures taken of the interior and exterior of the property. If needed, the inspector will also change out the A/C filter to make sure the HVAC is being taken care of; these filters must be provided by the Owner. Once the inspector is done with his inspection, all the information along with the photos are passed to the Account Manager where the information is closely reviewed and then sent to the owner via e-mail so they will be kept up-to-date regarding their home. In the management agreement the owner chooses how many inspections they want every year. The first inspection is free upon written request and each inspection thereafter is $50.00 . Unfortunately, most owners only choose to have their property inspected twice a year, which is a mistake. We have clearly seen a financial savings to the owners that have their properties inspected every quarter. The financial savings is at the time of move-out; the properties are cleaner and have less damage then those that were only inspected once or twice a year.

How long will it take to rent my house?

Vacancy rates can very significantly based on your homes amenities, condition, and pricing. You can rely on The Treehouse Group and our expertise to help you choose the best price at which to market you home. We then put our specialized leasing crew to work to lease your home to a qualified tenant as soon as possible.

Depending upon when Treehouse Group takes over the property, it is averaging 45 days to lease up a property.

As an owner, am I allowed to go by my house and go inside the home?

As an owner you can drive by the house as often as you like, however we must give the tenant a 48 hour notice before Treehouse Group can enter the property.

How do I get my home into management? The steps?

1. Call the office and set an appointment with an Account Manager to do a walk through with you to determine rent ability and the monthly rental rate.
2. Read over and complete the Management Agreement.
3. Make arrangements for keys, remotes etc. to be delivered to the office or our property manager will be happy to get them at the property.
4. Determine a rent ready date so leasing can start!
5. Property will need to be cleaned and made ready to rent as soon as vacated. Owners can have the Treehouse Group make arrangements for lawn or pool service while the property is vacant.

How much is it going to cost to clean and carpet clean my house?

From $95.00 - $120.00 to clean the house and approximately .15-.25 cents per sq foot for carpet cleaning and if you ask for a quote for the service we do charge a $50.00 fee. *Prices are approximate only.

What is the rental city sales tax on rents?

Each city has a tax that is applied to rents received. The tenant pays the tax in addition to their monthly rent.

Do I receive a 1099 and a year end statement?

You will receive a 1099 at the end of the year that includes a full breakdown of the Profit and Loss on your account.

How is my property shown? Lockboxes, Realtors, Specific Leasing Division.

In order to maximize our leasing effectiveness the Treehouse Group has a specific leasing division. Available seven days a week these real estate agents receive all of our rental requests and show tenants the homes that best fit their needs. Other agents may view our homes with their clients by using secure lockboxes placed on each home.

How do we evict a tenant, legal time frame, and who pays for the process?

Unfortunately we often hear of the horror stories about real estate management even through these events are rare. Treehouse Group is very knowledgeable in the laws regarding the Arizona Landlord Tenant Act, and we follow strict guidelines in evicting a tenant. Most evictions are for non-payment of rent, and can be completed within 30 days. Although the tenant will be held responsible for the legal costs, the owner will be initially billed for filing fees and attorney’s costs. These bills, along with back rent and damages to the property will be reimbursed from the tenants deposit excess. Any excess bills will be sent to a collection company.

Who pays for Home Owners Association (HOA’s) fee’s and maintenance costs on the property?

Monthly HOA fees are paid for by the owner of the home and the tenant should never be responsible for this commitment. The tenant is responsible for HOA violations like trash cans left-out, weed control, incorrect parking etc. If the tenant is fined, the fine will go to the owners account and the tenant will be billed for the violation via the Treehouse Group Property Management. Maintenance Costs - the owner of the home is responsible for all maintenance costs on the property unless it falls under the following circumstance: The tenant causes the damage via neglect. It is in the Treehouse Group lease that the tenant is responsible for ALL minor repairs like switching out light bulbs, toilet stoppers etc. This is done to encourage the tenants to take care of the small items at the house. We strive to encourage our tenants to be more than residents in the property and to become caregivers of the home that they are residing in.

What about a swimming pool – Should I have one? Insurance?

A swimming pool is REALLY in demand in the summer time and if affordable is encouraged to own as an investor. The Treehouse Group has all of its tenants that rent homes with pools sign an addendum that releases the owner and the Treehouse Group from all liability regarding pool safety. We also have all the appropriate documents in the tenants lease package that the State of Arizona require that we give the tenant regarding pools and swimming. Insurance – It is always recommended to our owners that they carry at least a $1,000,000 umbrella policy as to cover any possible liability concerning their investment homes. To get pool safety tips you can go to this website - AAP Pool Safety for Children.

How do I access the Landlord Tenant Act for Arizona?

By clicking the link at the end of this sentence will allow you to have direct access via the Internet to the Arizona Landlord Tenant Act - AZ Landlord Tenant Act.

Does the owner get a copy of the lease, maintenance bills- HOW & WHEN?

The owner of the home does get ALL the important paperwork for their property including the lease and maintenance bills.

Property Utilities - Who maintains?

The tenant pays for all utilities while they occupy the home. If the home is scheduled to become vacant (in between tenants), the Treehouse Group Property Management Arizona team can place the utilities in our name to keep the property with utilities 'ON' at all times for an additional fee. Otherwise, it is the Owner’s responsibility to keep the utilities on when vacant. Keeping the utilities on will allow the owners landscaping and pool to be constantly protected and never lapsing. It is important that your Arizona rental home always be in the best possible condition to attract good renters.

Should I allow pets and smoking?

Treehouse Group has stated in their lease that NO pets or smoking will be allowed in the homes, unless otherwise approved by the owner. If an owner is debating about allowing pets or smoking, we suggest that they not allow them, however it should be understood that in today’s market allowing a pet will definitely open the door to tenant prospects. Pets usually have an extra $250 pet deposit and $25 per pet - pet rent if they are accepted. If a tenant has use an assistive animal due to the tenant being legally handicapped then the owner MUST allow the assistive animal with no deposits required. By Federal Law the animal, is considered another human.

Occupant limits? How many people do you allow to move into a house?

We typically follow the local fire department code, which permits 2 people per bedroom. Tempe, Arizona has a law that does not allow any more than 3 unrelated people to occupy a home. This is due to the heavy student population in the area . Students are not a protected class.

What appliances should I include in my property?

In today's ever changing Arizona rental market, we have found that the appliances are sometimes a deciding factor for the tenant when renting. Therefore, when you enter your home into our Property Management service, we highly encourage the owner to include all appliances which would include a refrigerator, washer and dryer. From our experience, we have found that this small investment of appliances will definitely help your Arizona rental home rent much faster. If you need assistance purchasing appliances at a better then normal rate, we can assist you with that as well.

Can you manage my property that already has a tenant on a lease?

Yes! We can take over property management of your Arizona home at any time. Unless the lease is month to month, the current lease will remain completely the same. If the current lease is month to month, it would be advisable to change your current lease to a Treehouse Group lease. There is no fee to move your account over to Treehouse Group property management.

Can I require my tenant to have renters insurance?

No, you cannot require the tenant to have renters insurance. Our lease does recommend to the tenant that they do insure their personal possessions as the owner is not liable.

Do you manage any property regardless of location etc.?

The Treehouse Group does reserve the right to be selective with the management of homes. Do not hesitate to call us and we will be happy to give you a free inspection to see if you home qualifies. Several factors need to be considered . Condition and a safe location being of primary concern.

Are you required to register your house as a rental with the State?

Yes, every home that is used as rental property MUST be registered with the Maricopa County Assessors Office. The Treehouse Group relieves you of this burden and contacts the State on an annual basis and updates your file.

How do I handle a Home Owners Association (HOA) violation and who pays for it?

If the tenant causes a violation of the Rules of the Association, we request that the owner fax the violation to our office immediately. Once we receive the violation, we contact the tenant and send them a copy of the notice and a letter that explains what needs to be done to repair the violation. Depending on the violation, we will inspect the property to assure the violation is repaired. If a second violation occurs and the owner is fined by the HOA, then the tenant will be billed on their account for the violation. Note: The owner will pay the violation so a lien is not placed against the home by the HOA. If the tenant fails to reimburse the owner for the violation, then the fee will be deducted from the tenant’s security deposit at time of move-out.

What happens when my tenant vacates at the end of the lease term? How much time to do repairs?

The Treehouse Group will usually inspect the home within 48 hours of vacating. A FULL inspection report will be written by the maintenance department. A call is placed to the owner of the home to review the findings of the inspection report. Once the owner reviews the findings, decisions will be made as to what work will be accomplished to refurbish the home to rent ready condition.

What happens if the tenant breaks the lease? Lease penalty? Military transfers?

If tenant should terminate their lease prior to the ending date of their contract or the agreed upon renewal date, the following option can be taken. The tenant shall pay amount equal TWO (2) Months Full Rent as an “Early Lease Termination Fee”. This amount will be due at the time the thirty (30) day notice is given and no portion of the tenants deposits shall be used towards the “Early Lease Termination Fee”. The tenant shall still be responsible for rent through the end of the lease OR until the property is re-rented.

TERMS:

1. Fee must be paid in certified fund only.
2. A full 30 day notice must be given PRIOR to move-out and the fees do not offset rent in any way, nor can the deposit be used for fees.
3. Tenant must deliver keys to the Treehouse Group office upon termination of 30 day notice.
4. The Early Lease Termination Fee will be considered additional rent.
5. It is understood that a breach of these terms will constitute a “skip” on the part of the tenant and collection of the entire lease and damages, including attorney fees and homeowner marketing fees will be strictly enforced.

What work is necessary on a typical move-out? Re-key? Cleaning?

Typically, when a tenant moves out, a short list of items must occur before the next tenant. We always re-key the property no matter what to reduce the owner’s liability. We will typically need to touch-up paint, clean, install new air filters, check toilet stoppers, light bulbs, check all appliances, sprinkler systems and assure the yard is presentable for a new tenant.

Who chooses the tenant?

The Treehouse Group is very detailed when it comes to tenants. We require that all prospective tenants are put through a detailed credit check, including criminal background, rental history, current employment verification, and income verification. We also require all tenants to sign the Crime Free Addendum that further protects Owners. The leasing department will contact you and review the tenant’s information. The decision is yours keeping in mind all Federal Fair Housing Rules and Regulations will be strictly adhered. Your involvement in choosing the tenant will allow you to be an active investor for tax purposes.

Who do I contact?

If you are interested in entering your property into Management with the Treehouse Group, you will want to call an Account Manager today. We can be reached at 480-426-1342.

 

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