How long will it take for someone to get back to me if I call or email you?
Company Customer Service Standards
Our Pledge to our Customers:
• Our office hours are 9:00 am – 12:00 pm, 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm, Monday – Friday
• We will respond to the following:
o Telephone messages within 24 business hours
o Email messages within 24 business hours
We know how valuable prompt communicvation is and uphold, operate by and guarantee these standards!
When will I receive my statement, and what documentation will it contain?
We close our books on the 15th of the month, email you a link to your Owner Portal on the 18th, and transfer funds as well. However, delays can occur, and we must allow for holidays and weekends. Your owner portal will enable you to access each monthly statement and all receipts in a PDF format 24 hours a day.
Management statements include a monthly and year-to-date Profit & Loss statement for each property, a detailed activity page showing each transaction for each property, and all invoices.
This is important as most property management companies do not provide copies of invoices. We believe you should be fully aware of every expense at your property.
Are you insured, and how does that protect me?
We carry General Liability insurance and Professional Liability insurance (commonly known as Errors and Omissions).
When considering a property management company, you should ask whether that company can reimburse you if they made a mistake that costs you money? The court may give you a judgment against your management company, but what would keep the manager from declaring bankruptcy to avoid paying the claim? Most management companies do not carry E&O insurance. Fortunately, since our establishment in January 1986, no one has ever made a claim against our policy. Every day we strive to ensure that the need will never arise.
We also carry Worker’s Compensation Insurance. If someone were to get injured on your property, it does not become a liability to you. We also require that all contractors carry Worker’s Compensation Insurance as well. Many property management companies do not require their contractors to have this coverage. However, without this protection, your liability is far higher than the small amount of money that would be saved from using an uninsured contractor. Don't take risks when you don't have to.
How will I know if my property is being properly maintained?
We strive to keep informed about a property's condition through several systems. This includes seeking well-qualified tenants, annual property manager property surveys, and our in-house maintenance technician visits.
1) The biggest key to a property being well cared for is leasing to a well-qualified tenant. We find that well-qualified tenants are motivated to take care of the property to remain "well qualified." See our tenant guarantees.
2) We email you a comprehensive annual property survey before renewing the tenant’s lease agreement. This allows you and the property manager to discuss the property condition and if a lease renewal is in order. NOTE: Your property manager performs that performs the survey. This requires your property manager to have firsthand knowledge of your investment.
3) Having an experienced maintenance tech on our team yields many benefits:
- Respond to maintenance requests within 24 to 48 business hours (think, great service).
- Performs quality guaranteed repairs,
- Completes a 7-Point Maintenance Check Up during each visit (checking key maintenance issues),
- Can perform several different trades in one call. A less expensive way than calling several different vendors to a property.
- Building a relationship with the tenant
Over time, a property’s systems and appliances will deteriorate. By evaluating these, you will be more prepared for needed improvements and more likely to discover potential maintenance items before becoming a more expensive problem for you. A well-maintained property lease and ultimately sell quicker!
What needs to be done to my property for it to be leased as quickly as possible?
Experience has taught us that the better the condition of your property, the better the tenant you will attract. The better the quality of the tenant, the lesser the likelihood of a property being intentionally damaged. Tenants have worked hard to get to where they are, and they don't want to mess up their credit by causing property damage.
This means that the property should be:
- Hotel clean (yes, that’s our definition of clean).
- Walls should be painted if they are dirty or marred.
- Carpeting and flooring should be cleaned or replaced.
- Appliances should be up-to-date and working.
- Window coverings, such as 2” blinds on the windows.
- The property should be in good repair inside and out (everything works).
- Lawn and beds should be in top condition and mulched (curb appeal is critical for first impressions).
This is not a complete list, but you get the idea. Your property should be a place someone would be happy to live and call their home.
Many residents begin to make up their minds about your property when they pull up to the curb. If the yard, entrance area, and interior look sharp and inviting, the agent will be more successful in leasing your home. A quality resident is motivated to take care of your home and will leave it in good condition. This means lower operating costs for you!
How will I know when a property is vacant, if it's being shown and when it leases?
We want you to be kept informed of the status of your property should a vacancy occur. We do that in several ways:
1) Before the Tenant Vacates: You will be notified by email when a Notice to Vacate is sent to us. If above normal repairs are needed, you will be made aware of these repairs by the property manager, along with cost estimates. Normal turnover items will be “handled” by us as quickly as possible. Such items as turning on utilities, getting the yard mowed (if needed), pest control, minor maintenance, and so forth. Quick decisions are necessary to get your house on the market and leased!
2) While on the Market: When the property is actively listed on the market, we will email you weekly updates with the agent showing activity of the property.
3) When Leased: Once the property is leased, you will be notified by our office manager. This notice will be emailed and will give you the specifics of the transaction (date leased, lease rate, length of the lease,..).
What happens if a tenant breaks their lease agreement and moves out early?
Residents are required to attend an online orientation session before they can move in. During the orientation, we explain that one of the conditions of leasing the property is their fiscal responsibility for the entire lease term.
Suppose a resident needs to vacate a property early. In that case, we explain that they are responsible for the balance of the lease payments until the property is leased again, a reletting fee (your lease commission) equal to one month’s lease payment, and all costs associated with that turnover. Unpaid expenses are turned over to a collection company and will affect their credit rating.
Do you add a fee to vendor invoices?
It is our opinion that paying invoices in the process of managing your property is part of a management company’s regular responsibility. However, a cost would be incurred if you want us to monitor a substantial project requiring multiple trips to the property and vendor overview. This would be discussed with you before starting the project. Please also review our scope of services in your Owner Handbook.
What are your property management fees and other costs?
Our property management fee ranges from 8-10% of the gross monthly rent, with a $75 per month minimum. If your property leases for less than $937 per month or is vacant for a period of time, there is a $75 per month charge.
Our operating costs are based on the service level needed to deliver the quality of services you should expect to receive from a full-service management firm. If you are considering saving costs by going with a less experienced firm that does not provide a full spectrum of management services to protect your asset or is not transparent with their costs, you may not receive the value for your management dollars that you should. Why risk it?
If you have four or more units, contact us for a quote on providing services for a more competitive rate.
Also, unlike other property management companies:
- We do not charge you an Account Set Up Fee.
- We do not charge you a monthly Vacant Property Advertising Fee.
- We do not charge a monthly Wire Transfer Fee.
- We do not add an Administrative Processing Fee (markup) to vendor invoices.
- We do not charge your tenant’s bogus monthly Service Fees.
What is your leasing commission and what about lease renewal fees?
The leasing commission is 80% of new residents’ first full month’s rent. From this, we pay all the agents involved (listing and leasing) in the transaction, all costs associated with listing your property in the Multiple Listing Service, listing it on our Web site and all the additional property leasing sites, preparing all the lease documents, and performing a required lease orientation with your tenants.
A lease renewal of $250 is administered if we successfully retain your current resident and execute a lease renewal contract. Renewing the lease agreement is always our goal, not turning the property over. Why should you pay a lease renewal fee? Property turn-overs are one of the most expensive events at a property. A turn-over can easily cost you thousands in lost rent, the lease commission, mortgage payment, make-ready maintenance costs, utilities, lawn care, pest control, rekey, and so on. If a company charges nothing to renew the lease, they may be tempted to allow a property to turn over and charge you a leasing commission. What's their incentive not to? Incentivize the property management company to give excellent service to your tenants and to keep them in the property.
Your tenant is your “asset,” give them good service, as they provide the means for you to make your mortgage payment. A vacant property is a money pit! We understand the value of tenant retention for your success. That's why many of our systems focus on tenant satisfaction. On average, our tenants stay with us for over three years! That's three years of no turn-over costs and an interruption in cash flow. Keeping a tenant in your property should be a priority. A long-term tenant saves you money! Click here for more information on how we market your property and here to find out more about our leasing commission guarantee.
Do you manage property outside the immediate Austin area?
Since our primary focus is on the immediate Austin area, we do not manage property in
- Georgetown or
Do I have to allow pets in my property?
As the owner of the property, it is your decision whether to allow pets or not. Some owners will unequivocally not allow any pets, others will approve only small dogs, while others will accept a dog of any size. Some will allow only one pet and others will allow multiple pets. Some will allow cats, some will not, and others will allow cats only if they have been declawed and spayed or neutered. If you decide to allow pets, Rollingwood Management always recommends a minimum of a $300 pet deposit per animal living in the home, and the pets must meet our pet criteria.
If you decide not to allow pets, be aware that you will be eliminating almost 60 to 65%% of the rental market, and it will be more difficult to rent your home. If the management company has done its due diligence, properly qualified the resident(s) and collected the proper deposit, the risk of having a pet is minimized.
NOTE: These provisions do not apply to Service Animals. If an applicant has a valid Service Animal, they will be allowed to lease the property.
Will you allow smokers in my property?
All our properties are non-smoking only. The Tenant Handbook or Rules and Policies clearly state this to the residents. There are substantial financial implications for a tenant that smokes in a property.
Can the resident get my phone number and address if I use you?
Our office staff is trained to protect your confidentiality. However, Texas law now requires we release your name and mailing address if a tenant request that information from us in writing. Some of our owners have set up a PO Box, this can prevent direct contact with a tenant. If a tenant contacts you, we strongly suggest you not talk with or negotiate any situation with the tenant. If you agree to something that we are unaware of, it could void work we are doing and cause a process to be restarted. Ask your resident to call their property manager and then notify us.
What potential liabilities do I have, and how can I minimize my risk?
As the property owner, you could be held liable for known and unknown conditions at the property. In most cases, your fire and general liability insurance policy should cover you adequately. However, you should discuss with your insurance company the amount of recommended limits for your situation. Our experience has found that most owners are underinsured for liability coverage.
It would be best to discuss placing your property into an LLC with your attorney. An LLC was conceived as an alternative to traditional corporations and partnerships. Typically, corporations protect the owners against personal liability for business activities but involve complicated tax and record-keeping problems. Partnerships generally minimize tax problems but offer no liability protection.
Please note: This is not legal advice; we are not attorneys. Our management agreement with you has an indemnity clause that places basic liability on the property owner that is no fault of the management company. Insurance companies know this, and most will willingly name the property manager as an additional insured at no extra cost. This is important, as you want the insurance company to protect us both in the unlikely event of a lawsuit.
Can you help me if I already have a resident?
Yes, provided that the current lease agreement is one we can enforce. Once the current lease concludes, we will sign your current resident onto a Texas Association of Realtors lease agreement. In cases where the resident is behind in their rent, we can take the necessary steps to either get them to pay or evict them if we cannot obtain payment. Many residents will suddenly find a way to pay the rent or move as soon as they hear that a management company has been secured to follow through with a collection.
What is a "quality tenant?"
Most property managers look for A grade tenants, while the rest of the world is looking for B grade tenants. Our years of experience has shown the A grade tenants are motivated to take care of a property, ready to move, and are qualified. They have a good credit rating, stable employment, and funds for the security deposit. A grade tenants are more likely to pay their rent on time, each and every month. In general, A grade tenants are going to be easier to manager and easier on your property. However, B gtade tenants can be just as good, which is why we do allow for some exceptions to some of our criteria which are cured by either a co-signer or a larger deposit.
Can you use one of my contractors for repairs?
Yes and maybe
We would be happy to have one of your vendors fill out a vendor packet to see if they meet our Preferred Vendor qualifications. However, in addition to being fully insured (Workman's Comp and Liability), a vendor must agree to a certain level of product quality, response time, and warranty provisions. We do this because the service your tenant receives is critically important to us. In turn, we want to be sure our vendors see it that way.
We cannot think of a quicker way to tarnish our reputation as a property management company than to turn customer service over to an unknown vendor to interact with your tenant. We cannot take on the risk of a potential lawsuit and cannot guarantee the quality of their work. Additionally, if their work should be of poor quality and require a follow-up on our part, we would bill for the property manager's time.
Do you get more than one vendor bid for work to be done?
Yes and No.
We will get an initial bid for work to be performed, but if additional proposals are requested, there will be a service charge to perform this work. The reason for this is that after 36 years in the business, we know who has the best prices, performs quality work, and stands behind their work. To work with us, a vendor must agree to competitive pricing, quality work, and guarantee their work. Getting additional estimates requires additional time (weeks) and slows down the repair process. This equates to poor service to your tenant.
Often the lowest bidder reflects the adage, 'you get what you pay for.' That's why we don't use companies we don't know. It is a waste of time to seek other bids, but we will do this at the owner’s request and expense. Owners must realize that if vendors give bids at no charge, they hope to get the job. If we send vendors out knowing they won’t get the job, eventually, they will charge for a bid or won’t respond to our requests which will affect our reputation in the area and make it harder for us to work with vendors.
Are the vendors you use qualified, insured, and competitive in their rate structure?
Each vendor must agree to adhere to the guidelines of our Preferred Vendor Program to do business with our company. This program requires vendors to:
- Provide estimates and competitive pricing,
- Submit detailed invoices,
- Be available 24 hours a day (if we need them in an emergency),
- Perform criminal background checks on employees going into your property,
- Guarantee quality work with a warranty of labor and materials,
- Call for approval for any repair out of the scope of work they were sent to perform,
- Call for approval if the cost of the repair is going to exceed preset limits, and
- Carry Worker’s Compensation Insurance and General Liability insurance.
Who will do the maintenance on my property?
Residents are required to perform basic maintenance on your property. Some examples are :
- Replace burned-out light bulbs,
- Change HVAC air filters,
- Fill water softeners,
- Change smoke alarm batteries and so on.
Additionally, we expect them to be able to tighten a loose door handle, push the reset button on the garbage disposal, or reinstall a window screen that may have fallen off. Residents are usually responsible for lawn care unless they are on a property where an owner provides that service. Lawn care is mowing, trimming, watering, and keeping flowerbeds weed-free. When repairs need to be done outside the scope of the resident's responsibility, one of our in-house maintenance technicians or sub-contractors will be sent to the property.
Our maintenance staff is available 24 hours a day, and we guarantee their work!
Do I get to see the rental application and credit report of the tenant?
Do you manage properties that have a swimming pool?
Unfortunately, due to liability reasons, we do not manage property that has a pool.
Can I choose the tenant for my property?
Federal Fair Housing laws are demanding, and the fines for mishandling this are high.
Our job as your agent is to protect you from discrimination lawsuits. We take Fair Housing laws very seriously and reserve the right to select and approve the applicants. We can call and present the applicant information to you if requested, but we have the final say.
If an owner refuses an applicant because of discriminatory practices, we immediately cancel our property management contract. For your protection, let us make this decision for you.
Do I need to finish repairs before showing a vacant property?
We can start showing the property as soon as possible once it's under contract. However, you know the adage “first impressions are lasting impressions.”
The better the property looks, the better the chances of renting quickly to a quality tenant. We've found that renters typically don't negotiate, they either like the property, or they don't. If the yard looks rough when they pull up, chances are they won't even come in. If the interior looks rough and isn't clean, they'll move on to one ready to go. Tenants are not like home buyers; they typically won’t “make an offer.” They either like the home, or they don’t; you only have one chance to impress them with your property.
This lost time drives up the Days on Market for the listing, and agents wonder if there's a problem with the property. Additionally, every day it sits empty, you’re losing income and incurring on-going expenses (water, electric, yard care,…).
Why do I have to provide account reserve funds?
Rollingwood Management requires reserves for each of the properties managed. The reserve funds are there so that repairs and bills can be paid after the rent has been dispersed. Rollingwood Management is happy to pay HOA dues, property taxes, hazard insurance premiums, and other property-related bills at no additional costs to the property owner. However, we require reserves equal to these funds so that the bills can be paid on time. A full accounting of reserve funds is provided on each statement every month.
Note: Expenses cannot be incurred unless funds are available in your account.
How do I receive my monthly proceeds?
Once your monthly statement is ready, you will receive an email with a link to your portal. This email also means that monthly funds were sent to your designated account. However, depending on your bank, this may take up to 24 hours from when we initiate the automatic deposit. Keep in mind that holidays and weekends will delay transfers.