Your Premier Source for San Diego Corporate and Vacation Rentals

 15 Questions You Should Ask Prior to Hiring a Property Manager

 

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The hardest part of the real estate business is not necessarily acquiring a portfolio of property, but in knowing what to do with the property once it is yours. A successful and experienced property management firm offers a professional set of business procedures and skill set necessary to obtain the highest possible income from any property you may own. 
 
In an effort to better inform property owners of our services we have created a list of some of the most common questions we receive. Certainly this list is not exhaustive by any means, but it will give you a basic idea of how we operate and what you can expect.
 
 
 
 
How much does property management cost?
 
Our management fees vary based on the type of leasing and services provided. Unfurnished long-term leasing and furnished short-term leasing require different forms of management and widely different levels of involvement on the part of management. We can discuss the costs of each in detail with you should you decide property management is right for you.
 
What services are provided in exchange for commission on the rent collected?
 
We advertise locally, nationally, and internationally; we screen and take applications from prospective residents; we negotiate and draw lease agreements; collect security deposits, rents, and cleaning fees; we send late notices to delinquent residents if necessary; we check your residents in and out, and we provide keys to residents and collect keys upon departure. We contract for cleaning services following the departure of your residents; we maintain emergency maintenance service 24 hours a day for plumbing, electrical, sewer, and other problems; we remit a monthly check with an itemized statement and, at the end of the year, an IRS form 1099 along with an annual statement.
 
In addition to the above, for our short-term rentals, we inspect each property periodically to determine that the housekeeping is being done to our standards, that the appropriate supplies are being left for incoming residents, and to alert you of any need for routine maintenance items.
 
 
Property owners seeking professional management of their furnished short-term rental will incur a one-time set-up fee.
 
Our firm also charges a nominal fee for maintenance performed by or at the direction of the Broker on all properties, furnished or not.
 
Also, as an owner of short-term rental property, you will want the utilities on all the time. These include gas and electricity, water, sewer, trash collection, cable television, wireless internet, and local telephone service. To help minimize these costs, we do impose caps on fluctuating utilities (ie. electric bill) where the tenant is responsible for any charges exceeding “normal use.”
 
 
The set-up fee covers the cost of the initial consultation and evaluation of your property to determine rental rates and rentability. It pays for information and advice that has been customized to your property based on our market research and expertise
 
It also covers the creation of an inventory list of all the contents of your furnished rental. An inventory list is important not only to help us keep track of what is in your unit, but to enable us to answer rental or resident inquiries without having to call you.
 
Additionally, the set-up fee covers a professional photo shoot that will generate high quality photos of your property, along with a virtual tour, for use in future advertising. Because the majority of our tenants can not physically preview our rentals, quality images and a virtual tour are imperative in allowing them to “view” your property as best possible. To compliment the photos, we also create advertising copy that will describe your unique home to its best advantage.
 
All of the advertising and marketing fees for the first year are also covered by the set-up fee. Your property will be advertised on top rental websites which lead the industry based on number of visitors they receive and how high they rank on top Internet search engines. In order to maintain the highest occupancy rates possible, these sites are used either all or in part to establish a digital presence for your property on the Internet and attract guests. Additionally, your property will be featured on our company site, www.staysandiego.net. All future advertising costs will be covered by Stay San Diego.
 
 
For the majority of our clients, the only advertising costs incurred are part of the initial set-up fee.
 
Stay San Diego maintains regular advertising of our general business as well as of individual properties. We have an ad running in every edition of the San Diegan, and we conduct direct mail campaigns to select buildings in downtown. We also belong to the Gaslamp Quarter Association and the East Village Association and we advertise in their publications and on their websites, which are seen by thousands of people visiting San Diego each year.
  
Since most of our customers have access to the Internet, we maintain listings on the top rental websites specifically geared towards vacation and corporate travelers. We also maintain a beautiful web site at www.staysandiego.net, which provides another opportunity for prospective residents to preview the homes in our inventory. 
           
 
We collect deposits that we feel are appropriate to the number of people who will occupy your home and the length of their stay. California law permits us to collect up to two times the monthly rent for an unfurnished unit and three times the monthly rent for a furnished unit, however, the market will rarely bear these rates. We typically have more deposit than is necessary to cover damages.
   
How are the rates set for my property? 
 
Rates for long-term rentals are based on the rents for comparable properties in similar locations. Since a significant amount of residential property in downtown San Diego is non-owner or renter occupied, there is significant rental data available.
 
Rates for short-term rentals are also based on comparable rentals, but there are fewer properties to which to compare, and the rents are much more dependent on location and condition of property. Rates are also dependent on the time of year, as popular summer months can command a higher rate than the rest of the year.
 
Some vacation rental owners make the mistake of thinking that their two-bedroom condo should rent for the same rate as a similar number of hotel rooms. This is comparing apples and oranges. The vacation rental home is a different product than the hotel room, and it attracts a different clientele. A client who is looking for accommodations is shopping for either a hotel room or a vacation rental, but will rarely be comparing the two options. Therefore, to compare the rates between the two options does not give us a number we can rely on. 
 
 
We can help you determine whether your property is best suited for a long-term or short-term rental, depending on your personal preferences. One of the personal decisions you must make is whether or not you want to use the property yourself. If your personal utilization of the property is important to you, you will want to consider the short-term, fully-furnished rental of your home to facilitate your own access.
 
While short-term rents are significantly higher than long-term rents, the expenses can be higher as well. Short-term management commissions are higher, utility costs are greater, and the cost of maintaining furnishings and equipment is more in a short-term rental than in a long-term rental. 
  
 
If your property is being advertised for lease on a month-to-month (or longer term) basis, it usually takes less than 30 days to locate a superior, highly-qualified resident. 
 
If your property will be a short-term rental, we will start advertising it as soon as we have a signed management agreement in our office. We have prospective residents contacting our office daily to schedule rentals immediately and we receive many inquiries up to a year in advance.
 
Stay San Diego also maintains numerous affiliate relationships with third party leasing agencies and agents for local theater organizations, military/government housing, and a host of other Real Estate professionals in the San Diego area.
  
Your annual occupancy rate will vary and depends mainly upon the location and condition of your property, as well as the amount of time you use the property yourself.
  
 
No two homes in our inventory are alike. They differ with regard to location, number of bedrooms and baths, floor plan, views, bed sizes, style and decor, and the way they are equipped. In the same way as homes differ, residents' needs differ. We will try to match the residents' needs to the homes available, but typically they will inquire on specific properties that appeal to them personally.
  
           
You may book your home for your own use directly through us. If we have reserved time for a renter, however, that reservation has priority. 
 
 
Our standard contract has a no-smoking clause and a no-pets clause in it which we strictly enforce. But we do understand that from time to time some owners themselves have pets and are willing to allow such in their property. When requested we can make exceptions in these instances and charge pet deposits accordingly.
 
 
We contract with a local housekeeping company in the area to provide cleaning services following the departure of our residents. We try to send the same housekeeper to your house each time so the housekeeper will be familiar with your property, its contents, and its condition. Cleaning fees are paid by each tenant and are mandatory.
 
 
Certainly no business endeavor is without risk. However, in our career in managing property, we have had to evict a resident only twice and have had very few reports of missing items from our furnished rentals. We have occasional damage such as broken dishes or a burned sauce pan. But it would be foolish to assume that major damage or the need for eviction will never occur. More often than not, the tenant is the first to contact us should something get broken for fear of forfeiting their security deposit.
 
Sometimes it is difficult for a property owner to make the transition from regarding his property as a personal residence to perceiving it as a business asset. To be a successful owner of income property, an owner must let go of his emotional involvement with his property. He must look at it as a resource from which he will most certainly generate business income and from which he may sustain some business losses. It is also important to remember that unless a business asset is maintained, it will produce less and less income, so it is vital to keep the property in top condition at all times. There will be some wear and tear, just as there is wear and tear in your own home. For this reason, Stay San Diego works extremely hard to assure that the properties are being maintained in the condition that will generate the most income for the owners we represent.
 
 
First, call our office with any questions that we have not answered here! When you feel completely comfortable with our operation, we will schedule an appointment to see your property and to facilitate its placement into our inventory in order to get it rented for you as soon as possible. After viewing your property we will assess market rental rates, discuss marketing plans, and forward our management agreement for review.
       
After your management agreements are signed, we will send our staff members to review the rental and familiarize themselves with the property and schedule your professional photography session. One of our staff members will review our “required items” list with you to guarantee that everything required for the residents is in place. Prior to the first rental that we schedule at your home, we will have our housekeepers do a “pre-clean” to insure that the house is ready for residents. 
 
If you have any other questions that are not answered here please give us a call.
 
We look forward to hearing from you and helping in all of your management needs!
 
 
 

 



 

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