Owners FAQ

 

We specialize in residential single-family homes, duplexes, triplexes, four-plexes and apartments under 50 units in the metro Atlanta Area.

The Compass Property Management Group (CPMG) delivers a unique real estate investing experience to our clients. Unlike traditional property management companies who co-manage properties with you, CPMG does ALL the work for you. If it’s related to your rental property, CPMG will take care of it. Our clients love us because they can be a true real estate investor, not a landlord. The CPMG owners have been investing and managing rental properties for more than 10 years. They understand the real estate investor mentality and will treat your rental property as if it were one of their own investment properties.

The Compass Property Management Group (CPMG) delivers a unique real estate investing experience to our clients. Unlike traditional property management companies who co-manage properties WITH you, CPMG does all the work FOR you. If it’s related to your rental property, CPMG will take care of it. Our clients love us because they can be a true real estate investor, not a landlord. Our services are superior to the outdated, traditional property management model. We have reviewed every component of the property management process and found ways to deliver better service and better results.

Turning over your rental property to the care of a new property manager can be an emotional and frightening experience. You have to be able to trust your property manager so that you won’t be worrying about your property. The more research and information you gather, the better you will feel about your final decision. You should hire CPMG only if you believe we are the best match for you. Frankly, we are not a perfect fit for every property owner, especially owners who want to be involved in the day-to-day management. Of course, we’d love the chance to earn your trust and manage your property, so please read on.

We are asked this question more than any other by new owner prospects. The rental market is a competitive market with many variables that are constantly changing. Contact us and we will provide you with a free Rental Analysis.

There is also some strategy behind choosing the right asking rent. We have found that asking above-market rent leads to higher vacancy periods and higher turnover. Both of these contribute to a smaller bottom-line. Asking market rate rent increases the chances of finding great tenants
who want to stay in the property for a long time. Better tenants and lower vacancy rates will put more money in your pocket!

We will check comparable rental rates for your home’s area and submit to you the lower, median and high rental amounts possible. Depending on your home’s condition, we will suggest the most strategic rental amount that will get your property rented quickly but still maximize your rental amount.

The most important thing to know is that the rental market is indifferent to your mortgage payment amount.

The rental market does not care that you may have a negative cash flow. Owners who overprice their rental homes will be punished with extended vacancies.

When you hire us as your property manager, we will look at the rental market in your particular area, survey the competing homes, and make sure your home is priced so that it will be viewed favorably against the competition.

We give it maximum exposure, convert a high percentage of leads to showings, and showings to applications. We process applications carefully, but quickly, to rent your property as fast as possible. There are a few key differentiators that we have proven will rent your property faster.

INTERNET LISTINGS: Our available homes for rent are posted on dozens of for-rent websites, complete with high-quality photos, maps and property details for the convenience of those searching for a new home. Our ad-copy is carefully crafted to provide critical information to prospects who only spend a few seconds reading ads.

PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHY: Prospective tenants are visual, often looking at the photos before reading the ad. It’s critical to have high-quality photos to attract high-quality tenants. Compare our photography to other companies. You’ll instantly see the difference and understand why we convert a huge percentage of page-views to showings.

VIDEO TOURS: When possible, we film and publish video tours of our rental properties. Photos are great, but it’s difficult to “feel” the flow of the house with still photos. Video tours give prospective tenants the ability to virtually walk-through your property and experience the floor plan and flow of the home.

INSTANT ONLINE SCHEDULING: When a prospective tenant wants to schedule a showing, it’s important to make the process as easy as possible. Instead of playing phone tag with a leasing agent, CPMG prospects can instantly schedule a showing online. Enabling prospects to instantly schedule a showing allows us to convert a higher percentage of inquiries to showings.

CORRECT PRICING: Even the best and nicest homes will not lease quickly if overpriced. We make sure your rental home is priced according to current market conditions.

THOROUGH PREPARATION: The best located and well-priced rental homes will not lease quickly if the rental home is not in top showing condition. Homes for rent must show well and have an attractive “curb appeal” or they may sit empty for extended periods. Part of our job as a property manager is to make sure your rental home is presented in a clean and attractive condition so that it will attract a good tenant.

Nothing is more important to the Compass Property Management Group than ensuring that only the most qualified applicant(s) will become your tenant(s). Approving the wrong tenant can cost the owner and the property manager a great deal of time and money. The Compass Property Management Group is different from other management companies in this aspect, as we have a statistical representation that our qualification guidelines work better than other property management companies.

Our background checks are highly intensive and cover a wide variety of aspects that we find vital during the application process. We get a copy of the credit report with reported FICO score, check for previous evictions, verify previous landlord references, and verify applicant employment details with income requirements.

We reduce the risk of a tenant not paying rent or damaging the property by using a conservative tenant screening approach. We do not assume we are being told the truth until we verify the information with credible evidence. We look for tenants who have something to lose (i.e. negative impact on credit) if an eviction or small claims suit is brought against them. We look at the tenant's credit, employment history, rental history, and check for any type of criminal background to identify any potential red flags to be concerned about.

We expect that our tenants pay rent in accordance with their lease agreement. We charge late fees, send notices to vacate, and file eviction suits if a tenant is in default of their lease agreement.

We also offer inspection services while the tenants are occupying the residence to reduce the risk of damage to the home.

As a result of our strict screening and payment management procedures as well as our inspection services, we minimize the risk of tenants not paying rent or damaging the property for our clients.

How do I get my property ready to rent and rent fast?

Make sure the property is vacant, clean, safe, is priced competitively, and will appeal to a wide variety of people. Imagine if you were seeing your property for the first time. Would you want to live there?

Vacant: Never try to rent an occupied home. There are legal ramifications if everything doesn't go smoothly, such as a current tenant who has to change their move out date while the new tenant has already paid a deposit and has a move in date. In addition, you have privacy and quiet enjoyment issues. Also, if you try to rent your home while the prior tenants still live there, it will be very difficult for a prospect to visualize their belongings in the home. While fully furnished, rooms can look smaller and tighter. Plus, having your current tenants keep the place clean and neat can be an overwhelming task.

Clean: A clean house is more inviting and gives a clear message on how the property will be managed. If prospects sees a dirty house, not only will they have a harder time imagining living there, they will also question whether maintenance will be handled efficiently and effectively.

Safety: Make sure windows and doors are secure, master locks work well and easily, bushes are trimmed back from windows, and the exterior has adequate, functional lighting. If the home next door is abandoned, or has groups of people hanging out, you may need to lower your rental amount.

Pricing: Run a check on the current market value for the area. Keep in mind other factors, such as time of year and size and condition of the home. Price accordingly. Winter is a difficult time to move. Most prospects want to move when the children are out of school and when weather doesn't hinder the moving process. A property ready to rent in the winter should be priced slightly lower than the market value. A competitively priced property may take longer to rent, making you lose rental income and endangering the property as vacant homes are a magnet for criminals. If it is a slow market time, and you want to price competitively, consider running a special, such as "first month free."

Appeal: This means the property is appealing from the curb and inside. Many applicants will drive by a property before calling. A neat, well-kept property ensures prospects will want to come in. If the roof is sagging, or the front post is warped, prospects will wonder how well maintenance calls will be handled. Once they are in the home, will they be able to picture their belongings in your rooms, or will the wall colors clash? Stick to neutral paint. Make sure the turnover is complete. Make sure the home looks neat, clean and ready to move in.

If this feels overwhelming, let Compass do the heavy lifting for you. We will ensure your property is cleaned, landscaped, and market ready.

Absolutely! The Compass Property Management Group utilizes an in-house team and vetted, experienced vendors, to get your property ready to rent in no time! Once the work is complete, our marketing team goes to work to aggressively market your home on over 30 websites. Then our management team begins their careful screening process to get you a long-term, responsible tenant.

Our experienced team focuses on responsive, empathetic interactions with our tenants that promote communication and problem-solving. Tenants who rent from us enjoy instant, 24/7 access to their portal which allows them to report issues to maintenance, check the status of repair issues, check their ledger balance, and find information that will help lower utility bills, inform of current issues, and more. They can also make rental payments via the portal, or through our online automatic system that shows payment immediately.

YES! Accurate and up to date accounting is one of the most sought-after services from an owner and is one of the most important things our company strives to be the best in. Our accounting department is highly experienced in a multitude of areas, providing you with expert care and service. We provide a detailed accounting of all income and expenses monthly, a year-end summary 1099 for tax purposes, and provide smooth international and national wire transactions to your bank account. We can print and mail these statements or we can email them, all at your option.

Owner distributions are sent via ACH to your bank account on the 14th of each month. Statements are posted to the Owner’s Portal.

If payment has not been made by the 4th – 6th day of the month, we send the tenant a three-day pay-or-quit letter. Whether or not we eventually have to proceed with a formal eviction depends on the specific circumstances. It is usually financially better, for all involved, if a solution can be worked out. If the tenant has experienced a one-time event which caused them a financial hardship, and we have had no previous problems with them, we will normally give them a chance to catch up, if there is a reason to believe they can do so. If the tenant has demonstrated an ongoing pattern of late payments, broken promises and/or evasiveness, eviction is usually the best course of action.

Each case is unique, and we make our decisions based on what is best for you and the property in the long run. We always proceed with the legal notices required for eviction regardless of any other factors. We will simply postpone the actual filing of the eviction if the tenant is showing favorable effort toward resolution. Evictions in Georgia are a simple legal matter as there is no way a tenant can prevail in court if they have not paid rent, and the landlord has properly executed the notices and filing. Full evictions, when necessary, can usually be completed in five to six weeks. If the tenant can fully catch up with rent and late fees during that process, an eviction can be halted at any time.

Tenants may submit maintenance requests through email, mail, and our preferred method of entering requests through the tenant portal. After receiving a repair request, we will contact the tenant and ask them questions in order to help us determine the exact nature of the problem.

We try our best to make sure it is not something the tenant can fix themselves (ex: tripped breaker, etc.) before an owner’s money is spent on a service call. After determining that it is a legitimate problem, we will send the appropriate service vendor techs to make the repair. We tell our tenants that we are able to handle most repair requests within 48 hours.

No. However, our goal is to deliver the best value to our clients. Our maintenance technicians are middle of the road in price and are competent and reliable. Our main “go-to” maintenance techs work on a time and materials basis. Some repairs are billed on flat-rate or bid-price depending on the issue. Due to our volume of work, lower prices are provided by our specialized vendors, such as HVAC, garage door repair, plumbers, electricians, roofers, etc.

We try to have our primary maintenance techs handle most of the multi-trade and make-ready tasks. This saves our owners a lot of money on multi-trade repairs by cutting down on the number of service calls to the property by different vendors. It also means that if we are called out on a dishwasher repair, we are going to be checking the furnace filter, sink drains, smoke alarms and general condition of the property, something that a single trade vendor will not do for you.

We think we have developed a very sensible approach to handling maintenance and repairs and that you will realize cost savings that other property managers simply can’t deliver.

This is a legitimate fear. We promise in writing not to do that. The Property Management Agreement includes a spending limit to protect you.

Sometimes expenses such as a replacing a water heater, repairing a roof leak, or emergency furnace repairs are unavoidable. In emergencies where 1) the health or safety of a tenant is at risk, or 2) there is only one option to consider or 3) the property will incur damage if immediate action is not taken, the property manager will initiate the repair work even if it is higher than the pre-authorized spending limit, and then let you know of the situation and what we are doing about it.

As a general rule of thumb, we collect one (1) times the monthly rental amount for the security deposit. Based on an applicant’s qualifications we may increase the deposit to mitigate risk.

The various legal requirements governing the care of property are a mix of international codes, Georgia codes, and county or city codes. To ignore these requirements puts an owner at risk of heavy fines and potential criminal prosecution, and puts a property at risk of fires, flooding, and other high cost damages.

There are the added costs of vacancies and turnovers when tenants decide to move because their home has a lot of unaddressed problems. In addition, without regular upkeep, your property values will decline. For these reason, we encourage our owners to ensure the property is well maintained. Please refer to our prior blog: Avoiding the High Cost of Vacancies.

That said, there are minimal standards that must be followed to stay on the right side of the law. Several local offices oversee the maintenance of properties. These include county code enforcement officers, permit inspectors and gas employees. Permit officers are tasked with checking for permits and ensuring construction follows the codes. Gas Company employees are trained to ensure furnaces and water heaters are property piped and ventilated. They will refuse to turn on service if they find any issues with these systems.

Code Enforcement officers are tasked with responding to tenant and neighbor complaints, and to drive through areas looking for the following issues. A code enforcement violation can carry a $500 penalty for each violation:

  • broken window glass; flaking/peeling paint
  • units not supplied with water or adequate heat
  • rodent infestation or unsanitary conditions
  • overgrown, littered vacant lots
  • graffiti
  • electrical hazards
  • vacant and unsecured structures
  • Exterior stairways, decks, porches and balconies must be structurally sound, in good repair with proper anchorage
  • Fences and walls shall be maintained in a structurally sound condition
  • dangerous, uninhabitable and unfit buildings
  • various other deficiencies which render properties substandard, or unsafe to its occupants or the general public

Other issues that Code Enforcement officers check, but are generally tenant issues:

• unregistered and unlicensed motor vehicles
• high weeds and grass
• decayed/damaged leaking roofs
• open storage of trash and debris
• junk/inoperable vehicles

At Compass, we regularly review codes, as well as perform property checks to ensure our owners stay in compliance. We also prioritize maximizing our owners' profits and minimizing repair costs, while keeping in mind required repairs and the maintenance of your investment.

We begin marketing your property upon receipt of a fully executed management agreement or upon completion of the turnover of the property between tenants. We advertise rental properties several ways including:

  • Our website and all of our social media platforms
  • We take up to 30 photos of your home.
  • National rental websites including Zillow, Trulia, Hotpads, Zumper, and many others.
  • A property sign placed in front of your home (if allowed).

Coordinating and managing the advertising of your property is included in the leasing fee.

Nearly 50% of all renters have some kind of pet. We recommend advertising your property as "pets allowed." We have strict breed restrictions and all of the applicant's pets are screened through a third-party screening company. We also offer a pet guarantee as well.
 
All of our properties are "Non-Smoking" properties and we include this in our leases.
 
Familial status is protected under federal fair housing laws. We do not discriminate against families or any other protected class.

Our Emergency Maintenance Line is covered by our experienced staff 24/7 365 days a year. When an emergency call is received, we will determine the severity of the problem, troubleshoot, and dispatch to the appropriate vendor. Owners will be advised of the situation by email or phone call during normal business hours.  We define an emergency as a fire, flood, or any dangerous or hazardous situation.

99% of our clients stay with us until they sell or move back into the property. We excel at customer service and communication is key to retaining our clients. We are responsive to our client's and tenant’s needs.

Click here to view testimonials from current clients.

If you’re a property investor in the metro Atlanta rental market, contact us today to experience the best Atlanta property management services!

Do You Need Property Management?

If you are not familiar with:

  • Rental housing law
  • Fair housing law
  • The eviction process

If you are not able to

  • Complete property turnovers
  • Market and syndicate listings
  • Thoroughly screen tenants
  • Write lease agreements
  • Provide online portals
  • Perform inspections
  • Provide renters insurance
  • Provide 24/7 emergency maintenance

Then it's time to get started with expert and individualized attention for your Atlanta rental property!

The Pitfalls of Self-Managing Rental Investments

  • Not having time to communicate and be responsive
  • Not throughly screening for quality tenants and setting
    specific application criteria
  • Not being familiar with rental law and fair housing law
    in all aspects
  • Not having a through lease that provides agreement to
    rules, policies and conflict procedures
  • Not having a 24/7 emergency maintenance line
  • Not maximizing marketing strategies and syndication
  • Not offering secure and convenient online payment options
    for rent collection.

Prioritizing Your Investment

Is Our Goal

Attracts-Renters
Attention It Deserves

We Are Best-in-Class Property Managers

Rental Laws

We Know Housing Regulations and Rental Law

Quality Tenants

We Thoroughly Screen for Excellent Tenants

Right Rate-1

We Set the Right Price for Your Rental Property

Certified Vendors

We Only Work With Certified, Licensed Vendors

Rent Ready Condition

We Ensure Your Property Stays in Peak Condition

Marketing

We Maximize Marketing for Every Rental Property