Often, a Real Property Management office begins managing a property when issues with the tenants or the property are a problem. Here’s a story based on an interview with Katherine, a client of Real Property Management Fairmate, owned by Patsy Chan.
In the early 60s, Katherine’s family owned three lots next to each other in Southern California. They built their family home, another home, and a small apartment complex on the lots.
“My sister and I managed the family property for many years. I remember when the rent was $98! When my sister died I continued to take care of the rentals on my own until my family said ‘no more mom’.”
“My niece in Utah and I now own the properties. She found a local Real Property Management office near our rentals and after interviewing a few property managers we decided to hire Real Property Management Fairmate.
Katherine lives about 50 miles from her property, but for many years she and her sister drove over once a month. “It is so nice to have Patsy close to the properties to take care of things. She does EVERYTHING for us!”
Patsy now manages 14 units for Katherine, but it hasn’t been easy. Patsy told us, “The complex manager was not very good at enforcing the lease terms and was renting to drug dealers and allowing homeless people on the property. They were not able to collect rent on a timely basis or at all, and had difficulties with bookkeeping.”
Katherine also said they were undercharging tenants. She admits “My sister and I were not knowledgeable of the market.” Each independently owned and operated Real Property Management office like Patsy’s stay abreast of their local market and understand market rent rates. Patsy said, “Most of Katherine’s units were renting under market value. We increased rent from $1000 (and some not paying) to $1600, with all residents paying. We have also removed 5 tenants with 2 more to go.”
In addition to the tenant issues, the properties also needed help. Katherine had used a contractor to handle maintenance but discovered he was not doing a good job, and took advantage of her living far away and unable to visit the property often. “I did not know how bad he was doing. Everything he did, we had to redo. It looked good, but it wasn’t done well. The new handyman I found did it better, and did it cheaper. Patsy still uses him for some things, in addition to another contractor she uses regularly. These are old units, but Patsy makes sure they are taken care of so we don’t have to redo things for a while.”
“Patsy is a fighter,” said Katherine. “She dealt with break-ins while we were fixing them up. She handled all of the court and legal activities to evict tenants. She actually talked people into not moving out because of drug dealers who she now has on their way out. She goes over regularly to make sure things are okay.”
One of the main advantages of using a professional property manager is that they take away the emotional tie an owner has to their property, which allows them to focus on enforcing the lease. “Patsy works so hard and is polite about it. At first people didn’t like her, but now they appreciate her getting rid of the people they didn’t want to be neighbors with.”
“I trust Patsy very much and take her suggestions. She has given me great advice that extends beyond managing my properties, like when I asked her for a recommendation for a tax accountant.”
As for Katherine’s plans for her rentals, she says, “These properties have been paid off for so long. Besides my Social Security payments, this is my income. We’ve put a lot of money into them, so if we decide to sell we will get so much more because they are so much better now. If we keep them filled we’ll keep them until I die… because I wouldn’t know what I’d do with the money if we sold them anyway.”
Perhaps it was a blessing that Katherine had rental problems and the wisdom to hire Real Property Management Fairmate. Now she has a hassle-free investment that is providing much more retirement income than she thought possible.
Do you need assistance with one of your rental properties? Please visit our Real Property Management office locator and contact us for more information.
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