The Important Questions to Ask Management Companies

We understand that you have many options when choosing a management company. Below are the questions we think are most important to ask to help you find a manager who is going to take the best care of your property. And for your convenience we have provided our own brief answers in green.

What are your fees?
This is by far the most common question. Unfortunately the answer is not straightforward and some managers will use that to their advantage. Here is a breakdown of standard and nonstandard fees:

Lease Fee: A one-time fee that covers all tasks associated with establishing a resident. This includes but is not limited to: taking pictures, advertising, showings with potential residents, background checks, the lease signing process and move-ins.
Our standard lease fee is 50% of first months rent but we’ll match any competitor. 

Monthly Fee: This should cover everything else during your business with the manager.
Our standard monthly fee is 10% of the rent but we will match any competitor. 

Non-Standard Fees:
Some companies will advertise reduced standard fees but make-up compensation in other ways.
Greenbridge Properties does not collect any non-standard fees or compensation.

File Set-up / Administration Fee: Any upfront cost to you that is not part of the lease fee.  
You never have to write us a check.  We are not paid until we collect first month's rent.

Re-lease fee: Another lease fee for renewing a lease with an existing tenant. 
We do not charge anything extra for this process.

Termination fee: The last thing you want to pay when parting ways with a subpar manager.
You can cancel our contract at anytime and without penalty with 30 days notice.

Can you pay my distributions by direct deposit?
Checks by mail are slow and require you to go to the bank to make a deposit. It is difficult to get banks to allow managers to pay distributions by direct deposit because it represents a “soft loan” to the bank.  Banks will only allow established, credit worthy management companies to pay their clients by direct deposit.
Greenbridge will deposit your distribution directly into your bank account through our state regulated real estate trust account with US Bank.

Do you offer residents the option to pay by direct deposit?
Again, collecting checks is slow and inefficient. A resident might mail it on the first of the month but it takes a few days to arrive, and another couple of days to be deposited, and then a week or more for the check to clear.
Our residents set-up automatic, recurring payments through our special online tenant portal. Most of our residents love the option and their rent shows up in our bank account on the first of the month like clockwork. The result is a much faster turnaround for you.

Can Residents pay with a Credit Card or Cash?
Very few management companies are set up to take credit or debit cards because the credit card companies charge up to 2.5% of the rent amount.  It gets very expensive quickly.  And it can be dangerous to accept cash and harder to prove discrepencies.
Any of our residents can pay by credit or debit card up to $3,000 per month.  We want to make it as easy as possible for them to pay rent, even if it means having to use a credit card once-in-awhile.  And while residents are not allowed to pay cash directly to us for security reasons, we do have an agreement with 7/11 convenience stores to accept cash payments on our behalf.  7/11 then does a direct deposit into our bank account.

When are reports sent and distributions normally paid?
This varies wildly with different managers but generally their reports and distributions are mailed in the middle or end of the month, sometimes the following month.
Because of our efficiencies noted above many of the distributions are direct deposited by the 3rd of the month and all are done by the 8th-10th of the month depending on where the weekend falls. For larger multifamily properties the reports and distributions are done around the 15th of each month.

Do you require tenants to carry renter’s insurance?
Tenants with liability insurance protects you from expensive damage to your property that exceeds the security deposit.  Some managers will initially require tenants to submit proof of renters insurance but then do not follow-up to make sure the coverage is renewed or that the premiums are paid every month. It is impossible for any manager to make sure tenants stay in compliance with their insurance carrier.
At Greenbridge, WE PAY the resident’s monthly premium for tenant liability insurance that covers damage to your property up to $100,000 per unit. It is the only way to guarantee their coverage is always current. We have never heard of another management company that offers this added protection. We do ask the tenants to reimburse us but we always keep paying the premiums even if the tenant falls behind.

Do you use your own leases?
Landlord / tenant law in Oregon changes every year and leases need to be updated to reflect those changes. There are a few good associations that sell the most up-to-date leases. A manager who uses their own leases has most likely plagiarized an outdated version of these copyrighted leases to save money by not paying association fees and the continual costs of new documents. An outdated lease puts you at risk, not the manager.
Greenbridge is a member of Multifamily NW, the largest rental housing association in Oregon, and we acquire the latest documents from them for every lease or addendum we sign.

Who gets the fees collected from renters? Do you take a percentage of fees or deposits?
All fees collected from the resident belong to you. These can add up and unfortunately some managers decide to keep them for the trouble of having to collect.
Greenbridge does not keep any fees collected from the residents. Only the rent counts towards our management fee, not fees or withheld deposits collected from the tenant. Those are distributed to you.

Where do you advertise?
Vacancy is by far the most expensive cost of owning a rental. An empty rental is losing many hundreds of dollars every week in opportunity costs.
We blanket the market with advertising and we fight hard to keep good residents in place for additional years (which saves you another lease fee). As a result our rentals have historically been close to 100% occupied over the years, which our references can corroborate.

Do you have a list of references?
Everyone will offer a handful of cherry-picked references who really just represent their friends or properties where everything has gone smoothly. So how revealing is a reference list, really?
We can provide an extensive reference list and also point you to all of the positive reviews online. But we’ll go one step further. You can request to see our full property list (or view the list on our website) and ask to speak to any owner at random. We believe every single one of our clients will recommend our management services without reservation.

Is there anything else that sets you apart?

  • We are a 100% paperless company. Nothing is printed or stored in hard copy and digital copies are never stored on local hard-drives, laptops, mobile phones or tablets. Greenbridge employs national firms with bank-grade security features and all sensitive data is encrypted.
  • All of the technicians we hire are licensed, bonded and insured.
  • Every six months your property is inspected by a licensed contractor and you get a detailed report.
  • Your funds are held in a special bank account that is federally insured. The account also has special regulations which protects it from any judgements against our company or commingling with our own funds. In other words, the rent we collect on your behalf is always legally yours.
  • You can request to be copied on any tenant maintenance requests. This helps avoid financial surprises which is a frequent complaint we hear about other managers.
  • Intensive, third party background and credit checks are performed on all potential residents by one of the leading screening providers in the country at no cost to you.
  • Emergency maintenance services are available twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year.
  • Looking to sell someday? We offer sale services specifically for our landlord clients since we already know the property and tenant well and can coordinate the multiple showings. This keeps rental income coming while the property is on the market and gives us an inside track with potential investors. Greenbridge is affiliated with the Portland Metropolitan Association of Realtors. More information is available on request.

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