Becoming a McGrath Real Estate Landlord
This information is provided to help you prepare to convert your property to a rental unit. Since 1976, McGrath Real Estate Services has handled many situations just like yours. We will do all we can to make sure that this is a smooth transition. We look forward to managing your property and would like to invite you to join the McGrath Real Estate family!
When to Secure a Property Manager
The sooner the better — this will allow you more time to evaluate the best property manager for your home. Generally speaking, you want to have a property manager in place and signed into a contract no later than 45 days before your home will become vacant/available for a good, new tenant to move in. This will enable your new property management company proper time to market your home effectively.
The Next Steps
- When you first receive our introductory packet of information, please take the time to read the information thoroughly and jot down any questions that you may have. Downloading and using the Owner Departure Checklist is a great way to keep track of what is most important to do prior to renting your property. This will outline the rest of your tasks that need to be completed prior to your departure.
- After your initial interview periods and before they can begin to perform work or market your home, a property management company will require a filled-out and signed property management agreement and a property information form.
- An important part of our service involves meeting you at your property and helping you assess its rentability. This includes making suggestions on the asking price, what work will need to be done before your tenants take occupancy, and other steps you can take to attract a good tenant. Please schedule a time to meet with our property managers to discuss these issues.
- There are many small maintenance and improvement items that you can undertake prior to your departure in order to make your property look its best and thus attract a good quality tenant. In today’s competitive rental market, many items have become necessities: painting, carpet replacement, polishing of hardwood floors, replacement of rotted fence boards, repairing minor electrical problems, repairing sticky locks, etc. Remember turning over the property in good condition is your best bet to expect it to be returned by a tenant in good condition. We understand that moving is a stressful and busy time. We can provide you with the names of experienced contractors who can complete any necessary repairs and improvements for you.
- Once a price has been set and the property prepares for showing, we enter your property information into the Metropolitan Regional Information System (MRIS). MRIS replaced MLS (Multiple Listing Service), with which you may be familiar. MRIS is more user friendly and conveys much more information to potential renters that the old MLS system. We also advertise your home on McGrathRealEstate.com and other home search related websites. A sign will likely be posted in the best visible location at your property. We have many other effective means of marketing your property at your option. Please consult us to review these choices more thoroughly.
- APPLICATION & LEASE
- When we receive an application for your home, we first obtain a credit report for that applicant. At McGrath Real Estate Services, we use a computerized credit checking service. We check credit reports and tenant/landlord court records. With this information in hand, we then proceed to verify the information that is provided on the rental application. We speak with the applicant’s employer and his current and previous landlords. We look at the applicant’s debt as well as income to determine whether or not he can afford to rent your property. We use all the resources at our disposal to determine whether or not this applicant is a suitable tenant for your home. Finally, we contact you to discuss the applicant and to receive an approval or a rejection from you. Please keep in mind that by law, we cannot turn down a tenant based on his race, religion, national origin, familial status, gender, or age. We can prohibit smokers, pets and individuals not financially qualified to rent your home. It is very important to stay in daily communication with us when there is an application on your property as to decrease your vacancy time.
- MOVE IN INSPECTION
- On the day that your tenant moves into your property, we meet him at the property to do a walk-through inspection and document the condition of the property. At that time, we complete a check-in inspection report and discuss the various maintenance items that your tenant needs to know, including the location of exterior hose bib cutoffs, the location and type of furnace filter, and the location of the electrical panel as well as how to properly operate the thermostat. This time spent explaining the house and its systems to your tenant pays off in reduced service calls.
- Throughout your tenure as a landlord, there will be small and sometimes large maintenance items that need repair. Responding to your tenant’s report of needed service at your property is one of our most important duties as your property manager. We are available 24 hours a day to take care of any emergency that may arise. Responding promptly to service calls is essential in avoiding damage and deterioration to your property, as well as to the welfare, happiness and cooperation of your tenants. Initially, we screen a tenant’s work request to determine if it is the tenant’s responsibility to make repairs or yours. If it appears to be a landlord responsibility, we call an appropriate repair vendor chosen from a list of specialists whom we have found to be competent, trustworthy and reliable. If you have a specific service contract with a vendor, please indicate this on the Property Management Information form.
- Our management agreement sets out guidelines for discretionary spending on repairs. Under normal circumstances, we will not authorize the expenditure of more than $500 on a repair without contacting you first. In the event of an emergency, we will use the benefit of our experience in property management along with the forms and notes in your file to make a decision based on your property’s best interest. Many of you who enjoy doing your own repairs at home may dispute the need to send a plumber to replace a fifty cent washer on a drippy faucet. Keep in mind that paying forty dollars for a plumber to replace a washer is a cost of doing business as a landlord. Most tenants simply do not have the inclination to undertake a repair greater than changing a light bulb or a smoke detector battery. In a competitive rental market, keeping the tenant happy by taking care of maintenance issues is one of the keys to ensuring that he does his part in taking care of the property and renewing the lease, thus reducing costly vacancy time.
- Management Lifecycle
- McGrath Service Area
- Questions To Ask a Property Manager
- Owner Departure Checklist
- FAQ’s for Landlords
- Preparing To Leave Your Home
- Preparing Your Home for Rent
- Northern Virginia Utility Companies
- Returning to Your Home
- Landlord Insurance Requirements
- McGrath Window & Siding Program
FOREIGN SERVICE RELATIONSHIP
DOCUMENTS & VIDEOS
- Sample Lease
- Educational Videos
- Returning Owner Checklist
- Wear & Tear – Security Deposits
- Landlord Handbook
- Vendor Policy