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Helping you find a rental!!!

I am committed to helping qualified, potential tenant(s) find a great home to lease within the Dulles Corridor, primarily Herndon, Reston, Sterling, Ashburn, Leesburg and South Riding (Chantilly). I believe that if leasing is what you want to do now and I am able to make that happen, then when you are ready to make the great investment in owning a home, I will be the first Realtor you call!

If you are planning on renting, by yourself or with others, there are a few key factors that will increase your probability of being accepted for that great home I show to you. Income, Credit and Debt! Those are the big three, but of course, a good rental history is always a bonus.

Income: Each property management company and real estate company will have an income requirement. The income has to be provable. For instance, how much you make on "tips", if not reported on your pay stub, cannot be provable. If your income can be viewed via pay stub, W2, offer letter or "net income" on your tax forms, then it is provable.

Most leasing companies use a factor (a number multiplied by the monthly rent) to set qualification standards. The most common run between 41 and 43, I use 40 because it is quick and easy, multiplied by the monthly stated rent as an Annual Salary or about 4 times the monthly rent for a Monthly Salary. This is the minimum amount of income you should be earning to qualify.

HINT: To figure out what you can "afford", simply take your annual salary and divide by 40. That will provide you with your upper range leasing amount and you should try to find rentals less than that.

Credit: Each adult has to apply and each adult has to have a decent credit score, typically over 620, preferably over 675. The credit score is an indicator that shows how well and timely an individual is able to handle their bills. It's like asking, "who would you loan money to; a friend who always pays you back before you have to ask for him/her to do so. Or, the friend who always borrows money and reluctantly pays you back after you have to ask him/her to do so multiple, uncomfortable times?" A high credit score (over 700) is like the former friend in this example.

Debt: This is a very important qualifier that most effects a lot of renters. It really is a simple number, more appropriately called Debt to Income or debt/income. Which is calculated by taking ones monthly debt and dividing it by ones monthly income. Super easy and the number you want is less than .38 or, in other words, you want to be spending less than 38% of your income on debt!

Debt items are the major bills you are borrowing money against, like car loans, credit card bills(loans), student loans, mortgages and, of course, rental amounts. The "rent" is a borrowing of money because in the lease, one is promising to pay a lump sum of money (monthly rent for 12 months) spread of a 12 month period of time (similar to a mortgage which is a lump sum spread over 30 years or 360 months). Utilities, cell phone bills and gasoline bills are not part of the equation, because they are bills pending on usuage.

In Summation: These three items work together in the probability of being accepted. And, I have a great track record of using this information to help my clients get accepted and a lease for their choice of a perfect home. By informing me of your situation and providing me with your numbers, I can help you find the right house without turning in multiple applications and paying multiple application fees.

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Owner Topics

Helping you lease your home!!!

Sometimes preparing your home to sell or to lease requires a few "touch ups" to command a higher price and/or to move the property faster. This is where my personal concierge service will help your success. My concierge service is above and beyone what the common brokerages offer, because, like a good concierge, I have the contacts to get what you need done, professionally, economically and quickly.

My concierge service does NOT mean that I am doing the work myself, that is just ridiculous. The word "concierge" clearly means, like a great concierge from a NY City Hotel, finding the services that you are looking for or need. These include vetted vendors, who are running their own business, licensed and insured in the Commonwealth of Virginia and have successfully performed their various services for my trusted clients.

My Concierge Listing Services Include

  • Maid Services
  • Lawn, Tree and Groundskeeping Services
  • Home Remodeling and Repair Services
  • Mortgage and Refi Referrals
  • Chimney Cleaning Services
  • Plumbing and Electrical Services
  • Fencing Services
  • Flooring and Carpeting Services
  • Roofing Services
  • Moving Services
  • Photography Services
  • Property Management Services
  • and more...

If you have a need for any other service, let me know!

Is Property Management your solution to leasing!

What does Property Management do?

Most people are comfortable with apartment buildings having a property manager or can relate to property management with commercial properties or HOAs. But, property management for your rental or investment home, be it a condo, townhouse, or single family, may be a daunting or even a new concept. And the most common questions are derived from "who uses property management, what do property managers do that I can't do and why is it better?"

Who uses Property Management?

Basically, those who use property managers are those who have better things to do with their time. This group of homeowners and investors can also be subcatagorized into groups of "homeowners who have moved away, permanently or temporarily" (such as those who work in the State Dept., DOD, Homeland Security, Military or corporate transfers) or "homeowners and Investors who have multiple properties" and lastly, "homeowners who are waiting for the turn of the sales market with their extra home". In most of the cases, dealing with property managing their home themselves is not how they want to spend their time, be it because they live away from the area or just don't want the headache, these are the consumers that use a Property Management Service.

Is Property Management right for me?

There are countless articles, blogs and webpages about the pros and cons of using a Property Management Company to handle your residential leasing needs. And, many of the issues are dependent on your situation. Using a property management service is similar to choosing an attorney to represent you in a legal case, or an accountant to help you with your financial books or a tax professional to help you with your taxes. Yes, you can do many of the property managing aspects yourself, but do you want to?

The next section reviews what a professional Property Management Company does. Go through the list and if you find that there are more things on the list that you would prefer a professional should handle, then perhaps a Property Management Company is your answer. Contact me and we can discuss the pros and cons and I will help you find the perfect company that fits your needs.

What do Property Managers do?

  • Leasing! Property Managers will help set the rent price based on what similar homes are renting for and their experience in the market. This is important to reduce the vacancy of your home in which you have no income stream coming in to pay the mortgage. Property Management also markets the house directly to consumers and to other Realtors, who in turn bring in prospective renters. Property Managers also screen potential applicants, typically on the phone or with eMail questions, and then safely show the property to the qualifying potenial tenants with private showings. Property Management's admin staff will then review applications, verifying income, credit score, debt to equity and rental history to meet a set standard they have established to reduce future possible problems with the prospective tenant and collecting monthly rent. Lastly, they set the leasing policy with the tenants that best protect the owner and their property, including lease terms, security deposit, lease amount, payment terms and methods (such as direct deposit), pet deposit, and any other specifics that the owners wish to include.
  • Maintenance! Property Management will inspect the homes throughout the year and identify future maintenance issues, typically before they become a problem. This also includes making sure that the tenant is keeping up with the leasing specifics of maintaining the condition of the home, such as caulking tubs and showers and changing the air conditiioning and heating filters. Property Managers will also keep track of maintaining regularly scheduled maintenance on large systems, such as heating and air, and make sure that the tenant is keeping up with landscaping and within any HOA guidelines or regulations. Property Management also works with professional contractors at a reduced price to help with minor and major repairs. And, Property Manager's maintenance department can schedule and project manage delivery, removal and installation of appliances, cleaning crews, painting, maid services, carpet cleaning, flooring changes and other renovations.
  • Legal Knowledge! Property Managers understand important laws and regulations (local, state and federal) that encompass the rental / leasing arena, especially with the Fair Housing laws. They help you not make any costly mistakes in renting out your property. Most Property Management companies have strong owner-sided leases that help protect the owners from a variety of tenant pitfalls. These leases are typically scrutinized and amendended by attorneys beyond the common leases found on the internet or supplied by local Realtor Associations. Other issues that Property Managers help the owner benefit from are knowing how to legally end a tenancy or conduct an eviction, who is responsible for what repairs, and what is considered a safe, sanitary and "habitable" environment. Having a third party, like a Property Management company, representing your best interests may keep you out of costly legal battles.
  • Administrative! There is a lot that goes on behind the scene of renting out your home and that is where the Property Manager's administrative staff comes into the picture. From setting up the files to market the home for lease properly to working with agents showing the property to collecting rent in a timely manner and knowing what to do and reduce late payments are a few of the key factors a good administrative staff provides. Also, Property Management will provide you with end of the year tax information to help with your tax forms and will have records of your expenses and revenue. Lastly, Property Managers will help you with the correct insurance coverage for your proporty and your protection.
  • Tenant Management! Property Managers are there to protect your property and to help the tenant 24/7 and have call systems established to do so effectively. They are also there to handle tenant violations and to respond to emergencies or basic repairs quickly. One of the most important aspects of a Proeprty Managers duties is to retain good tenants who take care of your property and pay on time. And, get rid of the others who don't!

    If PM Services do all that, what do I do?

    Well, that is the idea. Property Managers want you to relax while they take care of leasing your home and asset. You will have to review and finalize a tenant with the help of the Property Management company. And, you'll also have to understand the basic Landlord and Tenant rights, pay for any repairs or scheduled maintenance items and get the right insurance, but the Property Manager and his/her staff will be right there by your side making the experience headache free!

    Property Management Terms Defined

    What is a Leasing Fee and what does it include?

    The Leasing Fee is a charge to the owner equal to the percent charged of the monthly rent. This amount is typically collected when the accepted tenant pays the first month's rent up front, upon signing the lease, and is NOT the Security Deposit which is deposited into a separate account. The Leasing Fee pays for the commissions of the listing agent and the selling (renting) agent who brings the tenant who signs the lease. The Leasing Fee, when working with a Property Management company, also includes a "Check In" with the tenant noting the condition of the home and taking photos as necessary. And, the "Check Out" with the tenant when the lease ends, which will also note the condition of the home and taking photos as necessary. The Leasing Fee also includes putting the house onto the market into the MLS Database System and other online marketing sites, signage and lockboxes for access to the home, taking Marketing Photos of the home and in part, screening prospective tenants , reviewing applications and answering general questions from the public and other Realtors about the property.

    What is a Renewal Fee and what does that include?

    The Renewal Fee occurs when the current tenant wants to renew their lease for another year. This is an owner paid item. The new lease is drawn up after verifying that the owner wants to renew the lease with the current tenant and basic items are confirmed through a property inspection and review of the tenant's leasing history. This is a nickel and dime charge among property management companies, used to help defray their administrative costs.

    Types of Property Management Fee Structures
    (Flat Fee Versus Percent of Monthly Rent)

    What's the difference?

    This is a common question as more property management companies are turning to this business model. But before jumping into the 'advertised" or perceived differences, let's just turn to the basic math solution. $99 seems be the most advertised price for a flat fee property management company as well as $129 as some of those companies just entering the market place establish a better foothold on the market. 6% seems to be the most common Percent charge among the best property management companies, but their are some that are in the 8% and 10% range for either pure greed or name rocognition. Now the math is easy, at what rental price would it be most equitable to use one or the other. Let's fill in the blanks where X = Rent Price.

    X * 6% (the common Percent Charged) = $129 (the flat rate fee for an established company)
    X = $129/.06 -----> X = $2150 ($1650 if you use $99 flat rate fee)

    This simply means that if you rent a property or have a lease for less than $2150, you will save on the Percent Charge plan and anything over $2150, you would save using the Flat Rate Fee plan. Now you can compare the monthly cost equally between the two business models with any other "fees" that the company charges can easily be added in, to come up with the least expensive plan.

    Well, what about the service?

    That is a tough one to one quantify, but in general terms, there should be no difference in service, or at least in general offerings. If your 21 year old son needs a car to get to work, do you buy a new Tesla or a used Suburu? The easiest way to compare PM Companies is to match up services offered that do not require a fee, then match up the services that are fee related and commpare from there, based on total monthly costs and the most included services.

    One of the main "selling" points of a Percent Charged Fee structure is that the "extra" money paid is justified by the extra services they provide over the Flat Rate Fee structure. But that is assuming that each of the companes have the same expenses or costs. And, no matter how much one protests that "they've been in business for X amount of years and it costs this much to run a business, " there is always someone else in the industry doing it better for less of a cost or expense. It is what America is all about!

HOA Management
Managing Broker: Anita Lansansky, Long & Foster Real Estate, 2100 Reston Parkway, Ste 102, Reston, VA 20190
Executive Leasing, Listings & Sales: Curtiss Brown's Phone: 703 450-9140 E mail: Curtissb@listwithcurtiss.com
HOA Management