Frequenty Asked Questions
Q: Can I clean the house myself?A: Trust us; you don’t want to do that. These professional cleaning companies have the experience, tools, and chemicals to get the job done quicker and better. Additionally, cleaning a vacant unit is just way different than cleaning an occupied and furnished home. What could take you days, or even a week to clean, can take one of our crews of just a matter of hours. The sooner we have your rental property looking good and ready for a new tenant, the sooner we can get it rented. Trust us; you are ahead financially, and time wise, by allowing the professionals to take care of it.
Q: Can I do the repairs myself?A: Yes and No. Most of our owners direct Freedom Property Management to handle all repairs; because of our volume, we get discounted rates and we have a long list of professionals who can jump right on the job and get it done. As a result of this, we have developed systems so that these repairs are done timely, cost effective, and with professional workmanship. So when an owner requests to do work, it’s outside of our systems and the opportunity for error is greater.
With that said, we have had some owners that are professional tradesmen, such as an owner of a heating and cooling company. In this case, it makes sense to utilize the property owner’s own company to service their rental property. In these cases, we do require all of the paperwork to include licenses and insurances as we do from all of our other vendors. However, in the case of an afterhours call, we cannot guarantee that the owner or owner’s company will be called, as these calls are made afterhours and Nighttenders does not always have access to the computer system. In such event, they will call our primary on-call vendor.
Q: Can I use my own contractors for repairs?A: Yes and No. Over the past, we have put many contractors to the test. Cost is always important, but as you know, sometimes you get what you pay for. So the contractors we use now, have proven to provide low costs and quality workmanship.
Most of our contractors are small companies with little overhead. We believe that this is how we can keep costs down as well as ensure quality of workmanship. Also, we give them a lot of work, so we typically get better pricing than anyone else.
With that said, we are always willing to try someone new to put them through the test. However, we do require that they have all appropriate licenses and registrations, complete a w-9, have worker’s compensation insurance, and have a general liability insurance policy.
If we and the property owner agree to test out their contractor, the instructions need to come through our office. We have a work order system and if we do anything outside of the system, things can go wrong.
Q: Does retaining a management company mean I won't have any problems with my property?A: NO! If you own rental property then over a period of time you will have problems of one sort or another. Whether the problems are related to maintaining the property or dealing with the tenant there will be problems that need to be resolved. Retaining Freedom to manage your property will eliminate some but not all potential problems.
Our experience will help reduce the number of problems related to rental property. Those problems that can't be avoided must be solved. Our expertise will help reduce the aggravation and potentially higher expenses related to solving these problems. We can't keep all bad things from happening but we can handle solving the problem for you so that you don't have to handle it yourself.
Q: How do you advertise my property?A: Signs: Yard signs are the least expensive form of advertising, yet very effective, which is why we post our signs on the properties the moment notice is received by the tenant.
Classified Ads: The local print classified advertising is becoming less and less effective and is the most expensive. However, should you wish to utilize print media, we will place an advertisement in the local newspaper and Nickel ads at your request.
Web site: Our web address is posted on every sign, form, and ad that we have. The Internet is far-reaching and assists in bringing us highly qualified tenants. Our internet advertising posts all available rentals to over a hundred websites and the top rental search engines.
Q: How do you check the applicant's credit/reference history?A: One of the most important aspects of making your experience as a Landlord rewarding is placing the right tenant in your property. While no one can discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, age, national origin, or familial status we can discriminate on the basis of credit and rental history.
Once we have an application generated from our marketing efforts we conduct a detailed background check on the applicants. Some applicants can be very deceptive, even to the point of having friends or family members pose as former landlords or employers so that the information sounds good to the landlord conducting the background check.
To reduce the possibility of being deceived by an applicant, Freedom Property Management uses a multi-tiered background check to cross-reference each applicant. Our background checks consist of:
- We request a picture ID of the applicant.
- We pull a copy of their credit report including their FICO score.
- We check to see if the applicant has had a Forcible Entry & Detainer/Eviction filed against them.
- We get copies of their paystubs or contact their employer to confirm their source of income. If they are self-employed we ask for copies of their tax return.
- We confirm their landlord reference or residency history (mortgage payments).
Q: How do you determine the rental rate?A: We have access to listings information on many more units and the internet. After inspecting your home we can make recommendations to you on items that might enhance your home’s value. Once we know your home and your goals we can use our knowledge of the current market situation to recommend a rental rate. It's your property- we recommend and you decide.
Q: How long have you been in business?A: Freedom Property Management was started in 2012. We took over another company that had been in business for over 30 years. Wakefield Property Management had confidence in our abilities to manage their accounts and build a better future for the legacy they founded. Jesse and Dena Watson own and operate Freedom Property Mgmt., LLC with Dena being the employing broker. Dena has been in the property management industry for nearly 10 years.
Q: How long of a lease should we sign?A: The term of the lease can depend on the property owners own needs. But if the rental is an investment property, the property owner is typically going to want a 6-12 month lease. However, the time of the year does play a factor. For example, if Freedom Property Management fills the vacancy in November, a 12-month lease would end in December and if the tenants decide not to renew the lease, the property owner is looking at filling a vacancy in the worse month possible. So Freedom encourages leases to expire in any months outside of September, October, November, December, and January.
Q: How long will it take to rent my property?A: We will recommend a rental rate and terms that we think will attract a qualified tenant within 30 days. Market conditions vary and we can't make any guarantees as to when we will get a qualified applicant. Some properties lease immediately. Others take longer. We will provide you with updates as we receive feedback from the market so that we can modify the price or terms if necessary.
Q: How much do you charge to manage my property?A: Generally speaking we charge as little as 8% up to as much as 12% of the amount we collect from the tenant as our management fee. The range depends on the rental rate of the property, the age of the property, and options the owner selects regarding how quickly they want to get paid and whether they will take their payment and statement electronically (less expensive) or if they prefer us to print and mail (more expensive). There is no minimum monthly fee. If you don't get paid - we don't get paid! We email your statement and pay you via direct deposit. If you would like paper statements and printed checks, your management fee will be an additional 1% higher.
Rather than trying to beat everyone else’s price, we focus on beating everyone else’s service! Our actions speak for themselves. We manage your property as if it were our own!
Some important items to consider when comparing our fee structure to any other management company:
- No hidden fees, everything is explained up front
- No termination fees after first year
- No lease fees
- No lease renewal fees
Q: How will you advertise/market my property?A: Almost all of our applicants tell us they found the house on the internet. Freedom Property Management posts properties on several national web sites (Rentals.com, Zillow, Trulia, Hotpads just to name a few) in addition to our own site. We also use signs and Craigslist to promote properties we manage.
Q: What happens if the tenant doesn't pay the rent?A: In our lease form we give the tenant a 5 day grace period to pay the rent on time. On the 6th we tell the computer to post late fees for any tenants that have not paid yet. If the tenant has not paid by the 8th day of the month (or the next business day thereafter) then a "3 Day Notice to Pay or Quit” is generated and posted on the property. Under Colorado law we must first notify the tenant that they are in default on the lease and the Landlord must "demand possession" of the property before a Forcible Entry & Detainer/Eviction can be requested from the court.
If we still haven't received the rent within 3 days of the posting, depending on the particular circumstances with each tenant, we start filing the Forcible Entry & Detainer/Eviction. As needed we will go to court, arrange to get the "writ of possession" from the court and, if necessary, meet the sheriff at the property with a crew to remove the tenant and their things from the property. Why the tenant cannot pay the rent is not really relevant. Whatever their circumstances, they do not become your own personal charity case. We can help tenants with legitimate problems find help from different charitable organizations. But we are retained by you to protect your interests. If the tenant cannot pay the rent we need to find a new tenant that can.
Q: What happens if the tenant has a maintenance problem?A: The tenant contacts us to report all maintenance problems. We can be reached any time, day or night, including holidays. We contract with Nighttenders, Inc. for our after hour emergency calls. Upon receiving an "emergency maintenance" call, Nighttenders may contact one of our preferred vendors so that we can get the emergency under control.
In the management agreement you set a "repair limit" which tells us when, based on the estimated cost of the repair, you want to be involved in handling a maintenance problem. For non-emergencies, we will contact you first or we will handle the repair on your behalf depending on the repair limit you set. You can choose a dollar limit of zero or some higher figure at your option. Please note that this repair limit is based on non-emergency repairs. We will handle emergencies immediately, based on our judgment and experience, to protect your property from suffering any further damage.
Q: What is the reserve money for?A: Freedom Property Management requires reserves for each of the properties managed. The reserve funds are there so that repairs and bills can be paid after rents have been dispersed. Freedom is happy to pay mortgages, HOA dues, property taxes, hazard insurance premiums, and any property related bills at no additional costs to the property owner. However, we do require reserves equal to these funds so that the bills can be paid on time. A full accounting of reserve funds are provided on each statement each and every month.
Q: What is the setup fee?A: Freedom Property Management doesn't just add your property to our list of properties managed. We devote numerous hours into the setup of your property. We could list about 100 things we do during the set up, but let’s just list some of the major things that actually create value and can save the property owner money. For one, we conduct an interior and exterior inspection of the property. Additionally, we set up Landlord Service Agreements with all the utility companies that save our owner’s money upon turnovers. We take interior, exterior photos and videos to document the condition of the property and for marketing.
Q: What type of insurance do I need?A: Be sure to communicate with your insurance agent that the property is a non-owner occupied rental property. There are additional riders and coverage’s that do not cost much that provide you with added coverage. The most important is the ability to recover lost rents. A common example is a severe water loss or fire, which requires the tenants to vacate in order to make the necessary repairs. With the proper coverage, your insurance company will cover the damages plus the lost rents, as well as the tenant’s temporary housing costs.
Q: Who collects the rent? When do I get paid?A: The tenant makes all payments to Freedom Property Management. The security deposits are maintained in one escrow account. All rents and other payments are deposited into a separate escrow account.
Freedom Property Management exerts all of its energy the first week of each month on collecting rents. Adhering to trust accounting requirements, we must let rent checks season before dispersing funds to the owner. Therefore Freedom holds off on completing owner statements and depositing funds directly into our property owner’s accounts until after the 15th of each month. Additionally, if Freedom pays any bills on your behalf, we generally do these between the 1st and 10th of the month, as we need the rent money to make those payments.
We will deduct our management fee and any other expenses and we send the balance to you. We do our best to send out statements by the 15th of each month (or the next business day thereafter) however, our management agreement gives us until the 23rd. We will deposit the money directly into your bank account (direct deposit) or for an additional fee we can mail you a check with the statement.
Q: Who keeps the late fees?A: Collecting late rent is a very difficult job. We could actually get away with less work if all tenants paid their rent on time. And if tenants would just communicate when they don’t pay their rent on time, it would be a lot easier. But as it is, we have to turn into debt collectors and begin a very aggressive regiment to collect money on behalf of our property owners. So, Freedom Property Management retains all late fees to help pay for this extra and unpleasant labor.
Q: Who pays for advertising?A: The owner is responsible for all advertising costs. We divide the cost monthly between all of the properties we are currently advertising each month. Usually the cost runs around $50-60 but can be as high as $140 a month.
Freedom Property Management529 25 1/2 Rd. Suite B113
Grand Junction, CO 81505
We offer a wide range of property management services to fit your needs as a landlord or home owner.
As a perspective tenant, we can help you through the process of finding and applying for the home of your dreams.