Owners - FAQs
NARPM® property managers have heightened expertise and industry knowledge to assist them in doing the best possible job. They are real estate professionals who know first-hand the unique challenges of managing rental property in today’s constantly changing economic and legislative environment. And they know how to manage those challenges to everyone’s benefit. They can maximize rents and income for you; and they will manage the property efficiently, professionally and economically.
A NARPM® member stands apart from other property managers and landlords. Unlike many of them, NARPM® members:
- Have access to numerous educational opportunities.
- Adhere to the highest Standards of Professionalism and Code of Ethics.
- Know the landlord/tenant laws for your city, state and federal governments.
- Know rent values and vacancy factors.
- Have rental applications and consistent screening policies to meet legal obligations.
- Perform thorough move-in and move-out property evaluations.
- Are personally familiar with reputable painters, electricians, roofers, chimney cleaners, carpenters, landscapers, furnace and appliance repairmen, and other maintenance professionals.
- Can effectively negotiate with tenants, handle difficult issues and enforce the terms of the rental agreement.
- Have the ability to recover NSF checks, evict tenants and collect bad debts.
Your rental property is a very valuable asset. Entrust it to someone that can help you maximize your investment and minimize your headaches!
Tenant screening is done by a NARPM affiliate company named Landlord Solutions, out of Seattle. They do a thorough credit check, national background check, employment and residence verification for every adult who will be living in the house. Their recommendation on whether to accept or not accept an applicant is used to make our final decision.
We follow a strict procedure which includes legal notice of contract breach, personal contact with the tenant in an effort to work things out and ultimately a court hearing, judgment and eviction if necessary. We take all steps possible to resolve any rent payment issues without legal action. If it becomes clear that the tenant is unable or unwilling to pay any more rent, you will be notified to discuss options for removing them from your property.
Rents are due in our office on the first of each month. Our leases specify that if rent is not received by the fifth of the month, a late fee is assessed. To avoid violating trust accounting laws, we need to wait until rent checks clear before we can send payment to you.
Owner disbursement checks are mailed or deposited on or before the 15th of the month. We post owner statements to the Owner Portals, and you will receive an email with a one time link that will connect you with your statement, any completed work orders as well as any paid invoices.
SPM collects all rental payments from tenants, and then uses these funds to manage the monthly operations of your property. Any residual income remaining is dispersed to your account.
All security deposits are placed in a separate escrow account at a FDIC insured banking institution where they remain until the tenant moves out. Deposits minus any damage noted are refunded within the legal time frames required by Washington State Landlord Tenant Law.
SPM can make any or all recurring payments for you such as your HOA fee, lawn maintenance contract, pest control contract, etc. During a vacancy, we will pay utility bills. However, we do not make mortgage or insurance payments.
Our standard management agreement includes emergency service consent as well as authorization of non-emergency repairs up to $300 dollars. For non-emergency repairs estimated to exceed this threshold, no work is initiated without your approval. However, we need to keep in mind that WA State Landlord Tenant Law provides us with specific timelines on repairs being done, so time is of the essence when dealing with repairs at your property.
SPM utilizes a large network of licensed and bonded local contractors, most of which have been doing work for us for many years. We are experts in finding you the best price for the job, and require all our third-party vendors to have the highest level of professionalism and quality.
At the beginning of each new tenancy, a very thorough and concise move-in inspection, complete with dozens if not hundreds of pictures is completed which provides SPM and tenants with a detailed summary of the condition of your home. Throughout the tenancy our team will conduct general exterior and interior inspections. These occur 3 month after move in and 3 months prior to lease expiration. Upon vacating, the same initial report is used to record the condition that the property was left in. Any discrepancies that do not fall under normal wear and tear are rectified at the tenants’ expense.
We specialize in residential homes and multi-family housing throughout Seattle, the Eastside, Pierce & King Counties.
Our Property Management service area includes all of Seattle, the Eastside, Pierce & King Counties.
SPM is a full-service management company. We handle everything pertaining to your rental property. We assess rent amounts, advertise, meet and screen prospective tenants, place a tenant in the home, provide a monthly statement and surplus check to the owner, coordinate repairs, and send out annual tax statements and maintenance inspections. We also provide 24 hour emergency maintenance services for your home, as well as an in house maintenance company.
This is based on many factors, namely
- Time of year
- Availability of rentals at that time
We take all of these things into consideration when determining your rental rates.
The most important thing to know is that the rental market is indifferent to your mortgage payment amount. The rental market does not care that you might have a negative cash flow, and will punish with extended vacancy owners who overprice their rental homes. When you hire us as your property manager, we will look at the rental market in your area, survey the competing homes, and make sure your home is priced so that it will be viewed favorably against the competition.
We already have a stable of very qualified and reasonably priced vendors that we have used for many years. If you would like to nominate a service company to be added to our vendor list, they can contact us and we will interview them and let them know what documentation and references we need, what our invoicing and payment policy is, etc. We cannot guarantee however that your favorite company will be sent on all service calls to your home. Our concern is always to resolve repair problems in the most efficient way possible with the best available vendor at the time. We can't keep track of a pre-established roster of vendors assigned to certain properties - it would be a cumbersome and inefficient property management system and would not achieve the best service to the tenant and your investment property.
Our professional reputation as property managers, both with tenants and owners, is largely, if not almost entirely, determined by the effectiveness with which we handle maintenance. We follow a practice that is most likely to insure the best possible response and resolution to maintenance and repair problems for your property.
Our Designated Broker has a WA State Designated Brokers License which is required to operate a Real Estate Office in Washington State. There is no specific Property Management License in Washington, but professional property managers must have a WA state real estate license to manage property for multiple owners.
No. That is unless your neighbor, brother or friend is licensed, bonded and insured in the State of Washington. The potential for liability is just too large for us to consider, and honestly, what would you prefer? To pay a few bucks more to get a job done by a professional, who is insured in case he inadvertently burns down the house, or to get sued by a tenant because their jewelry went missing when your brother happened to be at the house – regardless of whether he took it or not – do you want that liability?
Yes, the cost of management services is deductible, just like your mortgage interest, property taxes and the cost of repairs.
(See your tax advisor for details.)
We have found that the better a property shows the faster we can rent it. Paint should be in good shape with any marred areas or large nail holes repaired and touched up. Carpets need to be professionally cleaned, appliances need to be in good working order, and a thorough professional deep cleaning gets the property ready to show. Septic tanks should have been pumped within the last year, and all chimneys need to have been cleaned and inspected within the last year. We have a network of people who can help you out with any of these things if you need.
When a tenant reports a repair or we discover a repair need during an inspection we first determine the possible cause. From there we determine which party is responsible. If damage was caused by the tenant, then they will be billed for the cost to repair automatically. If there is a repair need due to normal wear and tear, then we will coordinate the repair and pay for it out of the owners account. The owner Portal will have copies of all paid invoices for any given owner.
Answering this question is like trying to predict the stock market. We've seen the same home rent in several days during one vacancy and then take several weeks during the next. Many factors come into play including location, time of year, price, quality of the applicants, and just being in the right place at the right time. We hate vacant properties but have found that patience wins out over panic every time. Finding a tenant is easy but finding the right tenant is an exercise in persistence and sticking to sound principles.
No. As a full-service management firm SPM handles all communications concerning your property. In the event that someone tracks you down – refer them to us and we'll take it from there.
There are many good property management firms (just as there are many bad ones) and we're not necessarily recommending that you change. However, if you have differences in personality, investment philosophy, or performance expectations with your current property manager you may want to consider a switch. If this is uncomfortable or just a hassle; SPM can handle the whole process for you.
Statistics indicate that 75% of renters own pets. Restricting pets reduces the number of available, qualified tenants. Pets will be screened and pet references checked out. In general, a well-behaved cat or dog causes little wear and tear on a home and yard. An additional pet deposit is always required for cleaning/misc costs.
In federal, state, and local Fair Housing regulations children come under the protective class of “familial status”. It is unlawful to discriminate against children in any way.
Generally speaking, you will have one “property manager” but the rest of the staff handle most day to day operations and should be able to answer your questions
Our Owner and Managing Broker are Steve and Jodi Williams SPM®.
SPM has been around for 18 years, Steve and Jodi Williams, and has owned and managed investment property in the area since the year 2000.
Just over 100 doors
We have a sister company that does all Sales. Please goto our Real Estate website at Sun Top Realty.
We are of the mind that you hired us so that you did not have to deal with the tenants, so we do not share your information with them, and we ask that you do not share it with them either.
We ask that our clients (owners) do not contact the tenants. We have found that when owners, usually with the best of intentions, share their contact information with the tenants, it almost always ends up bad for them.
The lease is between you (Owner) and the tenants, with SPM acting as your agent.
Yes. Please ask and it will be shared in your portal.
Usually its a 12 month lease. However, if something else is desired, we can discuss more options.
Yes. We try to troubleshoot as much as possible before assigning to a vendor.
Yes, we do site unseen leases and we do have an addendum the tenants must sign stating they accept the property as is.
Kitchen appliances are generally listed as owner supplied, whereas washers/dryers are not. We include an addendum in their lease that states that the washers/dryers ( or any other extra appliances, like a standalone freezer for example) are non-owner supplied appliances, and that the tenant is welcome to use them, but if they should cease to function we will not be repairing or replacing them.
30 days notice.
60 days prior to the lease expiring, we will reach out to you asking what your preference is and also a recommendation on the monthly rent, or if any other changes should be made.
We charge a $99 lease renewal fee.
We will take the current market rent conditions into account, as well as the quality of the tenants. We do not always recommend raising rent for good tenants, and when we do it is a moderate amount.
Yes, we list a house as soon as we receive a notice to vacate and the authorization from the owner to relist. We show the house as often as we can in order to minimize the vacancy time between tenants.
We use an after hours emergency maintenance company called NightTenders. Owned by a woman who owned a property management company for many years, they are very well trained in dealing with rental properties and their maintenance needs.
We have both. Streamline Property Services is a licensed handyman company owned by our Designated Broker. Streamline steps in if we are having difficulties with scheduling or other issues with our current vendors. We do have a great roster of contractors who take care of most everything, but we feel at ease knowing we have a back up if needed. We especially vend out any HVAC, major plumbing, electrical, septic or roofing work orders.
$300, or what your PM contract states. This means that any work order that produces a bill less than $300 we will just go ahead and authorize. This does not include emergency repairs, for which there is no minimum policy.
Yes, we do. We send the tenants to collections and can take them to Small Claims Court.
Washington State Landlord Tenant law only allows 21 days for us to send a deposit disposition out to the tenants, from the day that they turn in their keys.
The screening reports cost the tenants $42 if they do them online and $47 if they do paper ones.
Fair Housing laws are very strict and the laws in this state are very stringent on the choosing of tenants. We have to base our decisions on qualifications and in some parts, it is actually against the law to not rent to the first qualified person who applies for a house. So, no, the owners do not have any input because we must walk a very fine line with the rental laws.
No, we believe if you aren’t getting paid, we aren’t either.
When we do the initial walk through of your property we will make recommendations to ensure that you get the best rent possible. We also have a full roster of vendors who can help you with any items that you do not wish to do yourself.
We will take your situation into account, and the current market conditions and recommend a price that hopefully will both cover your monthly expenses, as well as be competitive and not cause your property to sit vacant for an extended period of time.
We take high quality pictures of the properties, as well as advertising videos. We find that this is priceless when it comes to marketing in a primarily military area, where people are many times moving into a property sight unseen. We post properties on our website, which then pushes the ads out to 20 other high traffic rental sites.
We disburse funds no later than the 15th of each month. Funds are disbursed by ACH directly into your account.