We appreciate your business!
Thank you for choosing Ellis HomeSource to manage and protect your real estate investment. We strive to provide you and your renter the fastest, friendliest, most professional and cost effective service available. Managing your property isn't just our business. It's our passion!
What to Expect From ELLIS HomeSource, Your Property Management Team
- FEP Service - We pledge to be Friendly, Enthusiastic, and Professional in dealing with you and the Residents who live in your residential real estate.
- KWIK Response - Our goal is same day response to your phone call or email if received before 4 pm Central Standard Time.
- Maintenance Follow Up - Your HomeSource property manager will notify you whenever there is a maintenance concern with information and photos when possible. Serious maintenance issues that may exceed our spending limits will be documented and presented with our recommended solutions for your approval.
- Communication - We contact you immediately whenever there is a resident problem, notice to vacate, or an emergency.
- Accountability - Your HomeSource team will provide you anytime access to your property records and maintenance history through our unique Owner's Portal, a private conduit to your personal managed real estate information.
Maintenance, Repairs, & Preventative Measures
Every property needs love and attention through out the year. Owning rental property is a 12 month work in progress. Ellis HomeSource has gathered up tips that we think you should read and think about, and then let us know how we can help achieve this goal. Our main concern is to keep your renters, your property and YOU happy!
Air Conditioning Maintenance
You pay your auto mechanic a little now and then for routine maintenance on your car so you won't have to pay big bucks later for major repairs. The same practice is best for your air conditioning units - especially before the hot Texas summer starts.
An air conditioner is a very tough piece of equipment. It is engineered to withstand all sorts of abuse and keep on running. Like your car, air conditioners need regular tune-ups to run properly. Without regular maintenance an air conditioner loses about 5% of it's original efficiency for each year of operation. The good news is that you can recover most of that lost efficiency through regular maintenance. Studies show that with regular tune-ups a unit will maintain up to 95% of its original efficiency.
Many local air conditioning firms offer special prices at this time of the year. Some even offer annual service programs that insure that you will be reminded of the need to service the unit at the beginning of the cooling and heating seasons. The service check should include cleaning the condensing unit coils, checking the amp draw of the compressor, oiling the fan motors, checking that belts are well adjusted, and checking the system operating pressures and temperatures against the manufacturers specifications. One of the most important items to check is the coolant level in the air conditioner.
All equipment, even the most reliable, needs routine maintenance. Complicated equipment like today's air conditioners benefit in many ways from annual service. They recover much of their lost efficiency, they are less likely to suffer a major break down, they have a longer life span, they increase your comfort, they operate for less money, AND you won't be surprised with a huge and unexpected bill for fixing it.
As temperatures climb, so does air conditioner usage. And that means higher utility bills. You can save big bucks if you just perform a few simple maintenance tasks that will enable your air conditioner to operate more efficiently. Some of these steps the renter will have to be aware of to help the life span of the air conditioner.
- Keep the outdoor condenser unit free from debris
- Clean or change air filters once a month (we require this of the residents)
- Clean indoor coil once a year
- Brush and vacuum the fan blades and fan enclosure area once a year
- Clean drain line once a year
Few routine chores will pay off more handsomely, both in comfort and in dollars saved, than a simple air-conditioner cleaning. The payoff: Summertime comfort and lower cooling bills. You'll also prolong the life of your air conditioner.
The household furnace is a major appliance that is permanently installed to provide heat to the inside of the property. In the Dallas/Ft. Worth Metroplex the furnace will most likely be turned on for the first time in October. To avoid any ‘emergency' maintenance calls form your renter, it would be a good idea to have it checked out before the fall starts. Turn it on to make sure it is running property, and make sure the renter knows how to set the thermostat. Your renter may not realize if they flip a wrong switch it could turn off the furnace, so have the vendor walk them through the workings of the furnace. Have the maintenance man replace any worn out parts that could cost you big money down the road.
Smoke Alarm Maintenance
Make sure you change the batteries on all smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors in your home at least twice a year. Fire Department officials recommend that this be done in the spring and fall when we reset our clocks and "fall back" and "spring ahead".
NOTE ABOUT SMOKE ALARMS: In 2013 Texas state law requires smoke alarms in all bedrooms or rooms where residents sleep. A smoke alarm is also required on each floor level regardless of a bedroom being present.
Winterizing Outside Water Faucets
You can prevent water damage to your property by winterizing your outside faucets each fall. Winter temperatures can freeze the water that is trapped in the outside faucets and pipe connections. In some cases, this can damage the faucet or cause the pipe burst in the wall. Turning off the water supply to your outside faucets is the best way to prevent this problem since the renter will probably not need to turn them on until Spring.
Turning off the water and draining at inside valves is the best course of action, however you can also purchase inexpensive insulated covers for you're outside water faucets. These are easy to install and will offer some protection against freezing.The last thing you as an owner and we as your management company want to spend money on are replacing anything that is costly.
How long do the high-ticket items and appliances last?
This is a very good question. Many investment experts say you should allocate and expect to spend a certain amount of money each year for repair and the upkeep of any property. The costs are at times higher for certain items on the rental properties due to renters being harder on a the home then the home owner would be. It would be a good idea to plan on putting a certain percent of the rent collected in a back account to draw from when needed. Your property contains many items that need upgrading throughout the years if not total replacement.
The most common items that wear out from renter use would be the flooring and the paint. This is considered 'normal wear and tear' and an owner would expect to deal with these on a regular basis. The normal life expectancy for these would be about five years. If the renter is harder on the property and causes a sooner replacement earlier than the life expectancy, the portion of the accelerated wear may be assessed to the renter when they leave. Ellis HomeSource recommends specific flooring and paint because we know it will extend the life of the product and lower your long term costs.
Here are some of the longer life cycles Ellis likes to see:
- Builder Grade Carpet: 5 years
- Better grade Carpet: 8 years
- Wall Paint: 8 years
- Trim Paint: 12-15 years
- Vinyl Flooring: 10 years
- Laminated Wood: 15-20 years
- Ceramic Flooring: 20-30 years
- Hardwoods: 25-50 years
- Garbage Disposal: 10 years
- Microwave Oven: 5-10 years
- Electronic Garage Door Opener: 15 years
- Water Heater: 6-10 years
- Dishwasher: 10-15 years
- AC Evaporator Coil: 8-15 years
- AC Compressor Unit: 15-20 years
- Heat Exchanger: 15-20 years
- Builder Grade Fence: 5-8 years
- Better Grade Fence: 15-20 years
- Roof: 20-30 years
The following types of repairs present our greatest challenge and can never be predicted. They may occur from accident, neglect or renter abuse, but often they occur from poor construction techniques of long ago:
- Foundation, soil movement and associated damage
- Shower pans & tile surrounds
- Wood destroying insects
- Sprinkler System
- Pool equipment
- Any electrical component
- Any type of water leaks
When A Resident Moves Out
Your renter has lived in your property for the lease term, and now it is up. What happens now?
The standard lease obligates your renter for a period of 12 months, one year. Ten to eleven months has gone by and the renter will either call Ellis HomeSource to renew the current lease for another year, or give their 30-60 days notice to vacate at the end of the lease. Ellis appreciates the fact that your property is a long-term investment, and our goal is to maximize revenue and keep the overall costs down. A big part of this is keeping good renters and increasing the rents when justified, so we will call the renter and offer them an opportunity to extend their initial lease for another year at the original rental rate, or let them know what the increase would be.
Rents can be raised at the end of the lease term. We are required to give the renter a 45-day notice of the rental change. Before we do that, Ellis will do a current market analysis of the neighborhood and let you know if the current rental rate still hold true or if an increase is warranted and by how much. W hen you decide if you want to raise the rental rate of keep it the same, then we would mail a letter to the renter with the appropriate advanced notice. The letter would explain what the rental rate would be for another year, and will also stipulate any other modifications of the original lease that you and Ellis deem fit. Ellis HomeSource then does the rest of the new lease with the renter.
If the renter decides not to accept the new rental raise, or has to move for any other reason, they must give Ellis HomeSource a 30-day notice to vacate. Whenever a renter moves there are additional expenses that you will incur, so we make every attempt to retain the renter in order to minimize your financial exposure. The normal costs would be reflected in changing the locks, leasing expenses, make ready expenses and lost revenue due to the vacancy.
Ellis HomeSource appreciates the fact that our client is YOU. So any advice we give to you is based on our experience on how to help you get what you need from your investment. If you ask the impossible we might not be able to get it for you, but you can count on us giving you the experience we have gathered for the past 25 years.
Collecting the Rent; The Biggest Challenge in Residential Property Management
One of the key advantages of using a professional property management company is rent collection. ELLIS HomeSource, AMO, invests considerable energy and manpower each month to collect rent from the residents living in your investment property. With unemployment at about 8.2% in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, our outlook is better than most other regions of the country. Yet a recent report by KRC Research shows renters are on thin ice!
- One in three U.S. workers wouldn't be able to keep up with their rent payments past one month if they were to lose their jobs according to this report.
- The report, issued by a consortium of financial planning groups, found that 31% of workers would be unable to maintain their payments beyond one month if they became unemployed, despite the fact that 72% of adults engage in financial planning at least once per month.
- The survey indicates that among Americans who make $35,000 or less annually, almost 25% wouldn't be able to make any rent payment at all if they lost their job. *
Our collection policies are some of the most rigid in the industry. And while we use the utmost professionalism and respect when collecting rent, we also remember that this is YOUR money. We aggressively go after the rent with your needs in mind.
Our rent collection policies are direct and simple:
- 1.Rent is due on the 1st, late on the 2nd.
- 2.Grace Period - Rent received or postmarked by the 3rd of the month will not be subject to a late fee.
- 3.Late Fees - Rent received on the 4th is subject to a late fee. These fees get progressively higher each additional day that rent is not paid.
- 4.Calls and Visits - Our management team begins calling delinquent residents as early as the 3rd and begins knocking on residents' doors if necessary by the 5th.
- 5.Arrangement for payments - When residents have a specific crisis we are open to arranging a pay out schedule. Yet we know that this option typically does not result in the resident becoming current.
- 6.Evictions - As a last resort ELLIS HomeSource will file an eviction for possession of the rental. Occasionally this is the motivation for the resident to pay up. More often it serves as a tool to force the resident to move still leaving a balance of rent due.
Best Solution? Stringent Qualifying Standards!
While no lease can be guaranteed, ELLIS HomeSource uses a rental qualification process that allows us to screen renters the best way legally possible. Next month our newsletter will feature the EHS rental prospect qualifying standards and process.
* SOURCE: The report was based on telephone surveys of 1,021 U.S. citizens 18 years or older, and was conducted by KRC Research.