Resources to Help You Along the Way
Can United Properties help me buy or sell investment property?
Yes, our licensed agents will be happy to assist you with acquisition and disposition of investment property. Should you have an established relationship with another REALTOR, we can assist you by working with them to make it a smooth transition.
How are maintenance and emergencies handled?
For non emergency calls, residents can call the office Monday-Friday during normal business hours. Outside of normal office hours, our maintenance emergency line is staffed 24/7. When an emergency call is received, we will determine the severity of the problem and if it truly an emergency. To keep the expenses as low as possible, United Properties makes every effort to complete any maintenance during business hours. We define an emergency as an immediate health or safety issue. For all other non-emergency maintenance requests, our residents can also submit work orders online via our property management software.
How does United Properties communicate with clients?
United Properties believes in prompt and thorough communication with our clients. Every staff member has a personal company telephone extension, voice mail and e-mail. Many type of statements are available on line 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. In the event there are additional questions, our staff is required to respond to you within 24 hours. Below are some of the instances when we will initiate additional communication with owner/clients:
- Eviction filings
- Acceptable applications
- Notice to vacate from resident
- What to expect when resident moves out
- Lease renewals
- Extraordinary maintenance items
- By utilizing modern technology and software, United Properties allows owners anywhere in the world to log into their personalized account profile, 24/7, and review and/or print all of their properties’ financial information, occupancy, cash flow and maintenance status.
How long will it take to rent my property?
It is impossible to predict exactly how long it will take to find qualified residents for your property. A number of factors are involved. These include the size, location and overall condition of the property; the asking price relative to that of comparable properties in your neighborhood; and the time of year. However, the market time for renting is generally much shorter than the time required to sell the same property, and landlords can usually expect to have residents within 3 to 5 weeks from the point the property is “Rent Ready”. If a property does not rent within this length of time, it is generally a sign that it is overpriced relative to its size, location and condition. Pricing your property competitively and having your property in the best condition possible, are crucial elements in effective marketing.
How much money do you collect from residents before allowing move-in?
When a resident is approved, we normally require one month’s rent and a security deposit equal to one month’s rent. There are some cases that an additional 1/2 month’s rent is required, which is the maximum allowed by Michigan law. The security deposits are placed in an insured Trust Account and belong to the resident.
How will United Properties help improve my long term property value?
Our experience has shown that maintenance issues addressed early prevent more serious and costly property damage from occurring later, thereby keeping your long term cost lower and maximizing profit. Additionally, potential resident problems, when caught early, increase the likelihood of preventing future property damage and/or successful cost reimbursement before lease termination. There are trends we notice when residents begin to show signs of non-compliance or unit abuse. Trends are key in property management. Practically every problem resident we have experienced showed signs early on that foreshadowed their unacceptable actions and eventual termination of lease. Screening for and expecting responsible action and commitment from residents, both in the early stage of lease procurement, and throughout their lease, is an important priority from our standpoint. Lax property managers tend to rationalize and even justify a resident’s excuses. That is exactly why at United Properties we emphasize trend-spotting, documentation, accountability and follow up.
Should I allow pets?
United Properties abides by the wishes of property owners when setting pet policies. Most of our owners accept pets. However, there are exceptions, and we have absolutely no problem abiding by your wishes in this matter.
What are the costs involved with an eviction filing?
Court costs are determined by the court system and are different depending on the number of defendants. Even though the owner is charged for the court costs when incurred, the courts allow them to be added to the money judgment and they are returned to the owner when paid by the resident. However, with our Eviction Shield there is very seldom ever any cost to the owner.
What does United Properties do before a new resident moves in?
The resident is given a Commencement or Termination inventory upon move in. It is the resident’s responsibility to return the report to United Properties within 7 days of move in. This form is not for maintenance work orders. This form is for notification of property condition only. We will then validate the form and keep a copy on file. We utilize this form upon move out to determine preexisting conditions which may have existed before the resident moved in. With our notes, we are able to validate pertinent charges to the resident.
What expectations does United Properties have for leasable properties?
United Properties operates in strict compliance with the housing code. Before we offer a property for lease, we thoroughly inspect the property to ensure that all governmental ordinances are in compliance. We also advise our clients with recommendations that will maximize their return on investment. We have found that by offering a quality service to our clients, maintenance requests and complaints are minimized, while resident retention and satisfaction are increased.
What happens when a resident gives notice that they will be moving out?
We visit the property to update any marketing materials and do an assessment regarding the anticipated turnover time.
We send a letter to the resident notifying them of their duties upon vacating, and include an expected cost menu for any items not taken care of by the resident prior to moving out.
We modify the reserve in the owner’s account, if necessary, to ensure that funds are available to perform all turnover items necessary to get the property ready for the next resident.
As soon as the property is ready to market, we implement our marketing plan.
The appropriate arrangements are made for the transfer of utilities.
What is done after a resident moves out?
United Properties performs a move-out inspection of the property, usually within a day of the resident move out. During the inspection, we identify items that should be charged to the former resident.
We also make recommendations to preserve the value of the property and decrease the vacancy time.
We document the condition of all vacated properties with digital pictures and/or video.
We begin obtaining the make ready quotes. If any of the individual quote exceed, $350.00 we contact the owner for approval.
Once the property is ready for marketing, we allow prospective residents to view your property, accompanied by one of our licensed leasing agents.
What is the United Properties philosophy of managing properties?
Our overall goal as West Michigan’s premier property management company is to provide personalized and professional services to both clients and residents. To accomplish this goal, we constantly strive to balance the residents’ wish for high quality, well-maintained housing with the owners’ need to maximize investment income, while reducing risk and liability. We do this by building strong relationships, utilizing the latest technology, implementing effective marketing strategies, and following consistent and proven systems throughout every facet of our business. We strive to stay on top of market changes and industry trends through continuing education, ongoing market analysis and adaptation as needs dictate.
What is your screening process for prospective residents?
United Properties is very thorough and diligent when screening prospective residents. Our professionally trained staff processes all applications in our office. We obtain a credit report, criminal background check, employment verification, and rental history on every adult prospective resident and co-signer – if one is required. Placing qualified residents in your property is one of our most important responsibilities as your property management company.
When should I expect my checks?
The closing cycle of our monthly bookkeeping occurs on the last day of each month. Our contract requires that all net proceeds, less reserve and security deposits, be distributed to the owners within 10 days of the closing of the month. All proceeds are directly deposited into our client’s accounts through the Federal Reserve’s electronic, ACH transfer system. Download Client ACH Deposit Authorization Form here.
Who Pays Advertising Costs?
Coordinating and managing the advertising for your property is included in the leasing fees. In some special cases an owner may request – or we may suggest – supplemental advertising. Once approved by the owner, United Properties will handle production and distribution of any supplemental advertising, with costs billed to the owner. However, if priced to the market, most properties rent very quickly, making supplemental advertising unnecessary.
Will United Properties pay my monthly bills for me?
United Properties will pay all bills. At your request we will also pay your mortgage, taxes and insurance. We do require that your account have a minimum balance in excess of the estimated monthly payments, and your reserve should reflect that. Any shortfall must be submitted before payments can be made. At no time will we pay bills when the total funds you have available are less than what has to be paid. It is the responsibility of the owner to check their fund balance on line to make sure there is enough to pay the bills.
Does United Properties require an expense reserve?
United Properties does require an expenses reserve. We offer clients 2 different options:
Most owners want predictability, and United Properties can help with that by their unique reserve formula. United Properties will create a budget for your property based on historical information and a risk assessment that projects future capital improvements. With this number, a line item is created to put a predetermined amount of money in your reserve that will pay for those expenditures when they become due. This gives you a more predictable cash flow without the unexpected high cash requirements that can happen from time to time. This option is required when United Properties pays the clients mortgage, taxes and or insurance premiums.
The other option is as follows: for 1 unit of managed property a reserve balance of $300.00 is required, $250.00 per unit for 2-4 units managed, $200.00 per unit for 4-5 units managed, $150.00 per unit for 6-7 units managed, $100.00 per unit for 8-9 units managed and no reserve for 10 and over unites managed by the same owner.
In both cases, these funds are deposited in the property’s trust account, to be accessed by United Properties exclusively for documented expenses associated with the management of the property(s). All client funds are held in an insured Trust Account.
How are utilities handled?
Residents are responsible for all utility charges, unless otherwise agreed upon in advance and in writing. They must also change all utility billing information to their name and mailing address as of the move-in date stated on the lease.
How does United Properties market and advertise properties?
Once the 30-Day Notice to Vacate is delivered to our office, we begin marketing your property. We advertise in the following venues:
- Professional real estate property signs are placed in highly visible areas that can clearly be seen from the road.
- Our user-friendly and professionally maintained website, complete with digital photos and videos of the property is on-line 24/7.
- Every person on staff is educated to answer all incoming calls from potential renters.
- Dedicated, full-time leasing agents will show your properties to prospective residents.
- Targeted ads are strategically placed on 23 different websites shown below:
How much can my investment property lease for monthly?
Your lease rate is going to be determined by several factors. These include the condition of the property, location, and the rental rates for competing homes or apartments in the immediate area. The markets that dictate lease rates vary vastly from the markets that influence the value of properties. Please contact our office for a complimentary, no obligation consultation regarding market appropriate monthly lease rates for your properties.
How much notice does a resident have to give before they can properly vacate a property?
Our lease agreement provides that the resident give a minimum 30 day written notice that the lease will be terminated.
Should I allow children?
United Properties is a very fair and professional management company. We take pride in our knowledge and practices in abiding by all Federal, State and Local Fair Housing Laws. Families are a “protected class”, and we do not discriminate based on family structure or size.
Should I allow smokers?
All our properties are considered non-smoking properties, and we include this rule in every lease.
What are the fees for United Properties to manage my property?
There are 3 basic fees that are common for residential property management companies:
Placement or Leasing Fees
Each of these fees is based on the number of units managed under one roof. Please call our office at 616-965-2300, or fill in a contact form for further information. We will be happy to provide free consultation, and are prepared to develop a program tailored to meet your needs.
As you consider selecting a management company, please keep in mind; while fees are certainly important considerations, what is more important is the money you put in your pocket at the end of the year! There can be a large difference between management companies when you consider vacancies, resident or resident selection, attention to detail and maintenance costs.
What does United Properties need to start managing my property?
To begin management of your property, United Properties will need the following:
- An executed property management agreement
- Keys to the property, including mail box keys, if applicable
- Garage door openers, if applicable
- Certificate of insurance, with United Properties as an additional insured
- Download Client ACH Deposit Authorization Form.
- Download Disclosure of Information on Lead-Based Paint or Hazards, if the property was built prior to 1978
- A copy of the deed (Utility companies are now starting to ask for this to show ownership)
- Any current leases and any documentation relating to that resident
- Ledger of any past due amounts.
You may have several other documents relating to the property or current residents. We would like to have copies of all of the other documents you have which will make the transition smooth and efficient.
What happens if residents break their lease?
When the resident breaks his or her lease before the lease period is over, they are responsible for all expenses incurred to re-lease the property. The expenses may include the rent amount up to the time the property is re-leased or the expiration of the lease, real estate commissions for a new lease, all advertising costs, and any other costs directly relating to the re-leasing of the property.
What happens when the resident doesn't pay rent on time?
If rent is not received in our office by the 3rd of the month, a “7-Day Notice” is mailed and the resident is called. If after 7 days the rent is still not received and there is no payment arrangement, a court date is scheduled. Securing a court date usually takes an additional 10 to 14 days. After the court date, the resident has an additional 10 days to pay or move. If, after the 10th day, the resident still has not paid or moved on their own, a Writ is filed and the resident’s belongings are placed on the curb and the locks are changed.
What is the advantage of using United Properties as my management company?
United Properties’S staff is professional, courteous, informed and experienced. Since United Properties manages a large number of properties, we are able to capitalize on economies of scale, allowing us to offer multiple services that would be cost prohibitive for individual owners and smaller companies.
- United Properties utilizes the most up-to-date marketing techniques available in the industry, affording your properties exposure to a wider market of renters or buyers.
- United Properties constantly monitors changing trends and legal issues to protect our clients’ interests.
- United Properties’ contracts are very simple. Our Contracts run concurrently with the lease of the tenant occupying the property and are renewed when the lease is renewed as well.
- United Properties provides a unique guarantee for our owner/partners with regards to placement fees. Contact us for full details of the guarantee.
By utilizing modern technology and software, United Properties allows owners anywhere in the world to log into their personalized account profile, 24/7, and review and/or print all of their properties’ financial information, occupancy, cash flow and maintenance status.
What is United Properties role as a property manager?
To understand our clients’ needs and objectives.
Actively strive to achieve these objectives, while preserving or increasing the value of an investment property and generating income for our clients.
Management of the property: advertise the property, screen prospective residents, negotiate leases, collect rent, schedule maintenance, maintain accurate records, and resolve resident complaints.
What types of properties are managed by United Properties?
United Properties manages all types of residential properties in Kent and Western Ottawa County
- Multi-family apartment complexes
- Multi-family homes
- Single family homes
- Town homes
When will I receive my statement?
The closing cycle of our monthly bookkeeping occurs on the last day of each month. Our contract requires that all net proceeds, less reserve and security deposits, be distributed to the owners within 10 days of the closing of the month. All proceeds are directly deposited into our client’s accounts through the Federal Reserve’s electronic, ACH transfer system. Download Client ACH Deposit Authorization Form Here.
Will I need to change my insurance coverage?
United Properties advises all our property owners to consult directly with their insurance agent to be certain they are carrying adequate insurance for their property needs. Our insurance carrier requires that all clients carry a general liability insurance policy for the protection of any claims arising out of the operation, leasing, and maintenance of the property. We do require a valid certificate of insurance, listing United Properties OF WEST MICHIGAN LLC as an additional insured party, to be on file at all times. There is usually no additional cost associated with this. We inform your residents during the move-in process to obtain renter’s insurance for their personal belongings. However, our Renter’s Agreement clearly stipulates the owner or assigned agent(s) have no liability for resident loss due to theft, damage or injury to self or others within their leased unit