KAREN: Hi, welcome to House Talk. This is Karen, and I’m super excited to have Lindsay Cloud here today. She’s with Velocity Property Management, and I’m sort of in awe because she was the 2018 Single Family Property Manager of the Year. So Lindsay, you’re busy, and I so appreciate you being on the program. Thank you for coming.
I’m hoping that when you start out, you could explain to our listeners what does a property management company do? What do you provide?
LINDSAY: Thanks for having me, Karen. I appreciate it.
KAREN: You’re welcome.
LINDSAY: This is really fun. Property management covers basically the management of real estate. There’s different ones. There’s commercial, multifamily and single family. We specialize in single family and multifamily.
We basically cover the whole process. It starts from marketing the property throughout different internet avenues, and then it goes into showing the property and then screening tenants, and then collecting rent throughout the tenancy, handling non-payments, handling any sort of collection issues, and then handling the move-out and the deposit refund process.
KAREN: When someone decides that they do want to have a property manager, they would call you and sign a contract. Then do you go out and photograph the home before you market it? How do you do that?
LINDSAY: That’s a great question. We have a professional photographer that we hire. We’ll bring them out, they’ll take some marketing photos, and then we particularly market on over a hundred real estate websites. So you’ll be on Zillow, Trulia, Craigslist, those sorts of things.
KAREN: Also, having those photographs is a good documentation for the property owner once the tenant does move out. Isn’t that true?
LINDSAY: Yes, that’s really important, making sure that you document before a move-in and after. These photos, even though we have them, we still take pre-move-in photos because sometimes we’ll use these for marketing throughout the years that we have the property. But yeah, move-in photos are huge.
KAREN: Do you take photos of each room, then?
LINDSAY: We do. We go through everything. We’ll take specifics if there’s an area that has a dent or something. We’ll take real close-up photos. But for the most part it’s capturing the condition of the carpet, the walls, things like that.
KAREN: When someone says “I’m just going to rent the property on my own,” I say oh my goodness, maybe you should at least meet with a property manager. What would you say the greatest value is?
House Talk - Bend, Oregon Real Estate with Karen Malanga
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LINDSAY: The landlord/tenant laws in Oregon are very strict, so you want to make sure you know what you’re doing. By hiring a property manager, you’re making sure that they’re covering you in a contract with the tenant and that they know how to handle themselves throughout the tenancy.
Also, hiring a property manager keeps the emotion a little bit out of it. I know it can get hard when there’s emotions involved when someone’s in your home and not following the rules.
The other big thing is the screening process. We make sure that we’re doing a really thorough background, which includes credit, criminal eviction, and employment background. I make sure that if you do it on your own, you’re getting those full checks done.
KAREN: Oh yeah, because you really don’t know who’s moving into your home, unfortunately, unless you can do those background checks. Correct?
LINDSAY: Yes, you don’t know. Even we’re taking a risk when we move someone in and we’ve done a thorough check on them. But you’re really protecting yourself by just having that done.
I have so many owners I get that try to do it themselves, and they’ve moved in a bad tenant; I ask how the background came out and they usually say they never did one. That’s a huge way to protect yourself down the road.
KAREN: I had a thought here and I kind of lost it, but let me see if I can find it. I was also thinking that the other important part about moving someone in is back to the landlord/tenant law.
I can’t tell you how many times, when I list a home that’s a rental and we have to do the 24 hour notice, the tenant sometimes will fight us, won’t allow us access to the home. Then the seller says “I’m just going to call the tenant.” I’m going, no, no, you should go through the property manager. We’re trying to follow the proper rules and regulations. But it seems like the tenants know more about the law than most property owners now.
LINDSAY: It’s true. That’s why – just hire someone that’s doing this day in and day out. We require continuing education classes we have to take, so we’re always up-to-date. Laws are really changing every year, and if you’re in a different state, they may not be applicable to Oregon. So you just want to make sure that you know that. And tenants do know more, sometimes, than owners. [laughs]
KAREN: I’ve seen it a lot of times. Sometimes I’ll say I’m really excited to get photos of the home, and then I’ll call the seller and go, “You’ve got three dogs in there.” He goes, “No, I don’t have any dogs in there.” I go, “Yeah, you have three dogs.”
LINDSAY: Have they done an inspection lately is a good question.
KAREN: How often do you inspect a property that you do have under contract?
LINDSAY: We recommend doing them at least twice a year. We like to do them in the spring and then in the fall. That’s a good time in Central Oregon to make sure properties are prepared for the different seasons.
KAREN: That’s a great idea.
LINDSAY: Yeah, so I always recommend at least do it twice a year. We also like to do it in the summer with the yards. It gets hot here, and dry. We want to make sure our yards are staying nice. So we do once-a-month drive-bys and just make sure that the yards are being watered and maintained well.
KAREN: Then do you also provide gardening services or lawn care and everything else if that’s needed?
LINDSAY: Yeah, that’s another benefit to a property manager. Most of you know that it’s hard to find contractors these days.
KAREN: It’s super hard.
LINDSAY: Super hard, yeah. We already have established relationships, so a lot of times we can get someone out there a lot quicker than someone that’s never worked with somebody before. So yes, we have landscapers and maintenance people and plumbers, electricians.
KAREN: That saves so many headaches.
LINDSAY: Yeah, and quicker. It’s creating a quicker service too. That’s something that we benefit from.
KAREN: Lindsay, we’re going to take a short break and then we’ll be back.
LINDSAY: Sounds good.
KAREN: I’m so excited to be able to have you here. It’s fun.
KAREN: Welcome back to House Talk. This is Karen Malanga, Principal Broker at RE/MAX Key Properties, and I’ve got Lindsay Cloud here, the 2018 #1 Single Family Property Manager in Central Oregon. Is it Central Oregon?
LINDSAY: In Oregon. It was in Portland, the awards were.
KAREN: I am honored. [laughs] I have a star here.
LINDSAY: [laughs] I think you do quite well too.
KAREN: Anyway, Lindsay, in the first part of our show we were talking about what a property manager provides, but I also think you offer two different levels of how you can help a client. Can you explain to our listeners what those two levels are?
LINDSAY: Yeah. Every property management company is a little different, but most of us offer two options. One is just a tenant placement, and then one is the monthly management. If you’re an owner maybe that lives in the area that wants to handle the repairs and such themselves, a good option could be doing the tenant placement.
What that means is that we do the marketing, the screening, the showing, and then we’ll do the full rental contract. Our contracts are about 30 pages long, so they’re going to keep you safe.
KAREN: I’ve seen those, with my children.
LINDSAY: Yes. They’re protecting the owner. Then once we’ve gotten the tenant moved in and all the right documents, then we’ll hand the property over to you. Then you’ll be responsible for the monthly collection of rents and management from there.
KAREN: But that assures the property owner that they have a good legal contract in place, and that you have done the best background check possible that you can do.
LINDSAY: Exactly. It’s a good option if you’re not wanting the full service.
KAREN: Sure. I had a rental in Redmond – not to talk personally here, but it’s back to the pet thing. He said he had a dog, and I went up to do the check and he had two ferrets. I had to do ductwork, I had to have the ducts cleaned and everything, because ferrets – what’s up with ferrets? They smell weird.
LINDSAY: I think they’re gross. Yeah. They’re toxic, I think. Or something. I think that’s bad.
KAREN: [laughs] He got mad and he said, “You said I could have a pet.” I said, “Yeah, a dog! That’s what’s in the contract, not ferrets.” But it took me a long time to get them out, and then it cost me a lot of money to get the ferret smell out of the home. I should’ve just had a property manager.
LINDSAY: You probably should’ve. Take your own advice. [laughs]
KAREN: Yeah, take my own advice. [laughs] Jeez.
LINDSAY: It comes back to having a really good contract, because your contract luckily did specify what animal you could have.
And then, unfortunately, the process of getting tenants out is not always easy, and that’s another benefit to a property manager. We can work through those items with you.
KAREN: If you are a property owner, or if you’re managing a property and you realize the tenant isn’t probably the best choice for that property, how do you start that whole process? I read something different in the Bend Bulletin like every other week on new tenant laws, etc. What’s the current process?
LINDSAY: If they’re on a fixed term lease –
KAREN: What’s a fixed term lease?
LINDSAY: Okay, that’s good. A fixed term lease is like a year contract, a 6 month, with a beginning and an ending date. That’s how you’d clarify a fixed term.
If they’re on a fixed term, you don’t have that luxury as if it was a month to month to just give them notice. You’d have to wait till that contract ended – unless you had for cause, which would be having a pet that was unauthorized or an unauthorized roommate, things like that. Then you’d have cause to get rid of them early. Otherwise you have to stick with your term.
The city of Bend passed a law that said 90 days is the minimum notice you have to give to tenants. This is just the city of Bend, not Redmond.
KAREN: That’s 3 months.
LINDSAY: It’s 3 months. Actually, and then you have to add days for mailing the notice. It’s really like a 95-day notice.
KAREN: And that’s if you don’t have cause, correct?
LINDSAY: That’s if you don’t have cause. Let’s say you’re not going to renew the contract at the end of it. They just aren’t a good fit.
KAREN: Or maybe you’re like a lot of my clients; they buy a home, they want to rent it, but now they decide, “Oh, it is time to move to Bend. How do we remove our tenants?”
LINDSAY: It’s tricky. It’s tricky to keep tenants focused and staying in the property for those 90 days. They’re typically ready to go as soon as they find something else. They’re already looking as soon as they get the notice. A lot of times you lose some rent in that process because they have so much time they just bail, typically.
KAREN: But then you have the freedom to do what you want to do with the property.
LINDSAY: You do, so it could work out. Yes, it could work out.
KAREN: If you have – is it just cause?
LINDSAY: For cause.
KAREN: What is that again?
LINDSAY: That would be where you have a reason that they’re violating something in the contract.
KAREN: I know, but what’s the time period?
LINDSAY: It just depends. If it’s an unauthorized pet, it’s 10 days. If it’s other things, you have to give warnings. It’s kind of tricky to be specific on an item on that.
KAREN: So there’s a lot of variation.
LINDSAY: That’s part of the problem with the Oregon landlord/tenant law. There’s so many different avenues, it’s like, which one’s the law that fits that?
KAREN: Yeah. I was studying when I was getting my principal broker’s license, and there was a little bit in there about property management and tenancy law. It was like, oh my goodness – it seemed very convoluted to me.
LINDSAY: It is. They favor the tenants in Oregon. You just have to make sure you know what you’re doing. The easiest way to get someone is for them not paying rent.
KAREN: Lindsay, then there’s the other thing that comes into play. We’ve been talking about how to get a tenant out of a property, but what if you have the perfect tenant, the really wonderful person taking such good care of the property? How do you go about raising their rent and keeping it within the current market?
LINDSAY: That’s a good question, because you don’t want to lose them, but you also want to make sure you’re keeping up with the current rates. I’ve found a little sweet spot. If it’s under a $100 increase, people tend to stay.
To me, it’s worth maybe being a little under market but having a good quality tenant in there. I would just keep in mind anything over $100, people start looking for other options when you’re doing an increase.
KAREN: Yeah, I can see that. I can totally see that. I know you’re not a lawyer, but what is the current tenant law on how often can the rent be raised? Is that once a year, or is it in the contract, so it varies?
LINDSAY: On that fixed term contract which has a beginning and an end date, you can’t increase it until that end date comes up. On a month to month, you have to give them, again, the 90-day notice for city of Bend. Or 60.
KAREN: Do you give them a written notice, then?
LINDSAY: You do. I recommend everything be in writing any time you’re giving any sorts of notices. You can do it in an email. Email is considered written writing if your contract states that. But I would make sure it’s documented so that there’s a record.
KAREN: Thank you. We’re going to take another short break and we’ll be back with Lindsay Cloud. Thank you, Lindsay.
KAREN: Welcome back to House Talk. Karen Malanga here, Principal Broker at RE/MAX Key Properties, visiting with Lindsay Cloud of Velocity Property Management.
Lindsay, how does someone go about getting their property ready to rent?
LINDSAY: That’s a good question. Things that I would make sure are done, you want your property to be kind of the belle of the ball. You want it to look the nicest.
In a market like this, when it’s good, it’s favorable to owners, you can get away with not having things quite as pristine. But as the market gets tighter, it gets harder and you want yours to be standout.
KAREN: The one that everybody wants.
LINDSAY: Yes. I say get in that habit now, so that when that market does change, you just know and you’ve got it down.
Things that I would look for is making sure that your walls are all freshly painted or at least in good condition. We don’t want these holes that have one color paint and the rest of the wall is another, a different sheen or something. So make sure they look good.
Carpets need to be professionally cleaned before a tenant moves in. Have a professional cleaner go in. It’s not much money, but it goes a long way. As the tenant’s moving in, they’re not having to clean up as they move in.
Make sure your gutters are cleaned out from pine needles. Make sure your sprinklers are all working properly so the tenant can just come right in, and make sure the lawn’s looking nice. Make sure light bulbs are working. And test your smoke alarm and carbon detectors. Make sure those are all operable and up and connected with good batteries.
KAREN: Probably the appliances too. Make sure they’re all in good working order.
LINDSAY: Yes, good working order. Anywhere there’s water, make sure tubs, sinks, all of that is sealed up real well.
KAREN: Sounds like maybe you should have a home inspection before you rent the house. [laughs]
LINDSAY: You might want to. Or have a handyman go in.
KAREN: Yeah, because that could be almost like a really valuable investment.
KAREN: What do you find that tenants usually bring with them? Should most property owners provide the refrigerator and washer and dryer, or do most tenants have those on their own?
LINDSAY: Good one, too. I would always provide a refrigerator. In Oregon it just doesn’t seem that that’s something people are requesting that you bring.
I don’t like providing washer and dryers. Tenants are hard on that stuff. It tends to be a constant maintenance request that I get. So I like to jus allow tenants to bring their own, and that doesn’t seem unreasonable. That seems very common in the market here.
KAREN: That way you don’t have the headache of –
LINDSAY: You don’t have to have the headache, yeah. Some owners get worried about the connection of it, if there’s a water leak behind the washer. You could require that they have it professionally installed, or you could hire your maintenance guy so they provide it and you have it professionally hooked up. That would be another good way to do it.
KAREN: That would be a great idea. That way you know it’s done properly.
LINDSAY: Yeah, exactly, which is good.
KAREN: Super good. Let’s just take Bend – I know you’re #1 in all of Oregon, but here in Bend, if you look at our four quadrants – if you go northeast, southeast, southwest, northwest – where do you see the highest rents in Bend?
LINDSAY: It’s going to be northwest, which is probably, as you know, similar to the sales price. It matches up.
KAREN: Yeah, it matches up.
LINDSAY: Southwest Bend is probably the next most desirable. Then I would say midtown, which is kind of – what would that be, Karen?
KAREN: I love midtown. What I call midtown is in between Franklin, where you’ve got Juniper Park and all that, all the way to Revere.
LINDSAY: It’s a cool area.
KAREN: It’s a fun area because you’re close to everything.
LINDSAY: I feel like it’s the new hidden gem. There are big lots, lots of trees, kind of mid-century modern homes.
KAREN: I’ve been selling quite a bit in midtown.
LINDSAY: I like it. Yeah, I like that area.
KAREN: You can get everywhere.
LINDSAY: You can, yeah. Quick.
KAREN: So those homes are really rentable as well/
LINDSAY: They’re really rentable, yeah. Three bedroom, two bath seems to be a nice thing. People like that. Garages are nice. If you’re on the west side, to have a garage is like, “What? You have a garage?” You can ask for a lot more money because most of those little west side houses don’t have a parkable garage.
KAREN: Yeah, that’s true.
LINDSAY: They like that. I’m trying to think of what else. East side is nice. East side is just a different product. It’s just a little bit different. Prices are a little bit less. But still, there’s some really great new neighborhoods going in with great places.
KAREN: There’s a lot of great new neighborhoods. Over there someone can rent a new home.
LINDSAY: Exactly. New, no maintenance, you’re not having to deal with that stuff. So that’s really nice. A lot of the neighborhoods – southeast is pretty nice too. We just have a nice town, so everything’s great. [laughs]
KAREN: We have a really nice town. I do think, though, that when you get into an older home as a property owner with a tenant, you can end up with more maintenance.
LINDSAY: A lot more, and it adds up. It really does.
KAREN: Then in midtown there’s a lot of two bedrooms, but you can still rent those really quickly?
LINDSAY: You still can, yeah. It’s just price. You still have to be within the right price range. But they’re still very desirable, because they usually have bigger lots. People like the yard, which the newer homes don’t tend to have as much.
KAREN: What do you see as far as the vacancy rate goes? I know we’re winding down here, we’re going to run out of time, and that’s a big question, but what do you see right now in your business?
LINDSAY: It’s really low. We tend to rent homes within 30 days. As soon as we market them till move-in, it’s about 30 days.
LINDSAY: Yeah, it’s really quick.
KAREN: So it’s very good for investors.
LINDSAY: It’s very good for investors. You still want to be priced right, but it’s a good time to be an owner.
KAREN: That’s fabulous. How many properties do you manage?
LINDSAY: We manage about 250. We’re not huge, but we really serve our customers well.
KAREN: That’s awesome. Lindsay, how does someone find you?
LINDSAY: I would say look for us online. If you Google us, we have really great Google reviews. If you are looking for a property manager, I do recommend looking at the reviews people are leaving.
KAREN: And it’s Velocity –
LINDSAY: It’s Velocity Property Management, and we’re downtown Bend.
KAREN: That’s your website?
LINDSAY: It’s velocitypropertymanagement.com.
KAREN: That sounds great.
LINDSAY: Thanks, Karen.
KAREN: Thanks so much for being on the program.
LINDSAY: It was fun. Thanks.