Common Questions

Info for Property Owners

We’re glad to answer any questions you might have. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions.

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What types of properties does Southern Homes manage, and in what areas?

We manage any type of residential property — from single family and duplex homes to apartment complexes — in the McMinn, Meigs & Monroe County. We are starting to expand int Rhea, Polk and Bradley County.

What if I just want you to find a tenant for me?

No problem. Southern Homes would prefer to manage the home because the customers are looking for professional management when they contact us. However, we do offer a Quality Tenant Placement option for owners who want to manage their own property but would like help getting an excellent tenant under lease. We handle analysis of the correct rent rate, marketing through many outlets, arranging for prospects to view the property, screening the prospects and qualifying them financially, negotiating any contingencies with the owner and tenant, preparing the lease, performing the lease signing and then turning everything back over to you.

Can I switch from my current property management company?

You should always honor any brokerage agreement you’ve made. With that being said, many companies will let you cancel a property management agreement at any time without penalty, so go ahead and discuss it with them if you are unhappy with the services they provide. Southern Homes allows our clients to cancel at any time without penalty. We do not want you to ever feel trapped in a working relationship with us. We hope that you are happy and satisfied with everything we provide. At any time, if you are ever unhappy, we would ask that you contact us and let us help fix the situation. Your satisfaction is very important to us

How much money do I have to pay up front when I hire Southern Homes?

Absolutely nothing! You do not have to pay us a dime until your property is leased to a qualified tenant and the first rent payment is in our hands. The fee we charge to secure a new tenant (leasing commission) is taken out of the first proceeds that comes in. hen monthly, we transfer the rent income to you, taking out our 10%. This helps keep it simple and easy to manage for you as well.

Do you screen applicants before renting to them?

Absolutely! This is no easy feat! My assistant spends anywhere from 2 to 4 hours on each individual application. We use top-rated national screening services to check the applicant's criminal history. Our new system does pull credit. However, we do not deny based on credit because it would out rule out 3/4 of our tenants. The credit report will tell us if they have left owing apartment complexes, utility companies etc... and it does pull national registries such as meth, sex offenders and even eviction records. We also spend quite a bit of time verifying the prospect's rental history. This is where we catch most of the people we deny. A large number of people put down false rental history and so we go beyond checking it, we actual verify it. We also check references and verify current employment as well as job history.

Do you keep an eye on my property during the lease term?

Yes we do. We do our best! We do go to the home within the first quarter they are in the property. We do base the future inspections based on that inspection. We don't want to run off great tenants by being too intrusive. Most tenants truly hate inspections. Our team is reminded of this every time we go in. They are very clear and verbal about it. We do drive by once a month to do a visual outside the home and do go into the home annually. We will not renew a lease without making an inspection. We have a new program requiring liability insurance and this will be a huge peace of mind to all of our owners knowing they are covered in case something does happen. Accidents happen and now they will be covered. We do our best to stay on top of any potential issues with tenants by keeping in touch and doing emergency inspections if necessary if there are reports of unauthorized occupants or pets.

What if a tenant doesn’t pay rent?

We have just updated all of our policies on this topic. We do charge a flat late fee to encourage timely rent payment. It is 10% of the rent. The previous daily amount was much smaller and was taken advantage of. The rent is always due on the first of every month at every property but late starting on the 6th of the month. There is a lot of work that goes into collection of late rent. We also start reporting rent to the credit bureau as of July 2018. We believe this will also help build credit for the tenants who need it and discourage those who don't take paying on time seriously. We do issue pay or vacate notices if later than the 7th or 8th of the month. We pursue them y phone and text until they pay. If all else fails, we proceed with swift eviction and collection efforts. The home owner would be responsible for the fees up front for the eviction process. With our book keeping and records keeping, it is easy process. The costs will get passed on to the tenant with hopes of being reimbursed thin collections. (We hire a collection company fr a percentage of what is owed) However, we don’t need to do this very often since we are careful to select only tenants who meet our high standards. Things can happen in their lives such a death, divorce, job loss etc... This unavoidable and unforeseen issues can happen to anyone.

How much does Southern Homes charge for the management of the property monthly?

Our management fee is 10% of the rent. There is a minimum charge of $50 per month.

Does Southern Homes take a percentage of the late fees?

Southern Homes has started taking 50% of the collected last fee as of June 2018. With our new program we have in place now, late fees should not be an issue but it still can happen. Our team spends time working hard to collect rent and money owed to you. We have to be able to compensate for our time spent. Our new policies in place should eliminate a lot of the tenants paying late. We do not get paid anything until we collect your money!

How long is the average lease?

We do state that all of our leases are a minimum of one year. However, on occasion we may contact you ans ask if you will take a shorter lease if we have an unusual circumstance. There is a usually an added monthly fee that is paid by tenant in order to secure that shorter term. We do not do anything under six months ever. We do on occasion get corporate executives who want to sign a two to five year lease. You would be contacted individually and asked before we did this.

How much do I need to do in regular maintenance?

We ask that all owner provide the property clean and ready to lease. This includes truly having the home clean and in a move in ready condition. We do a completed walk through and document the full condition of the home. We would ask that you change locks between tenants (for liability purposes), have the home professionally treated for pest control (tenants are responsible after if it is all clear), have your HVAC unit cleaned and inspected between tenants (small service fee but can save you hundreds) and have your gutters cleaned twice a year to prevent leaks and potential damages. Also, the tenants are responsible for mowing and trimming with a weed eater. However they are never required to be on a ladder (tree trimmer and gutters) or landscaping. If you have special landscaping of any kind, you may want to hire someone once or twice a year to go clean up or maintain what you have in place.

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