Frequently Asked Property Management Questions (FAQ) for North Carolina Rental Property Owners

We’ve broken this NC rental owner FAQ into sections. Choose your topic of interest. This FAQ is intended for MoveZen rental owners and investors in North Carolina (currently being extensively updated with post-COVID changes).

Maximize Your North Carolina Investment with Our Extensive Proprietary FAQ, and Custom Trained GPT Chat for NC Rental Owners. As an owner, having the right information at your fingertips is crucial. Our custom GPT is designed to help you navigate the complexities of property management. From understanding market trends to managing your properties more efficiently, you’ll not only find answers to your questions but also learn how to ask the right ones to enhance your NC investment. Additionally, our proprietary FAQ provides hundreds of expert responses to common and complex industry questions, ensuring you have the best resources at your disposal.




Rental Rate Estimate | Quick, Accurate, No-Obligation

Getting Started, Onboard, Why Should I Partner with MoveZen in NC, FAQ

Here at MoveZen Property Management, we value your time and money. We’ve put together this introductory letter to explain our philosophy behind getting your property rented quickly, and with quality residents. We look forward to working with you!

You can view a general overview slide deck as well, here

Here are a few tips that will help to ensure your early rental process runs smoothly and efficiently: returning the signed management agreement and the new property information sheet, as well as providing us with keys to your property. Keys are a common hold up and meeting with neighbors and other contacts consistently delays the process. We highly recommend mailing, or dropping a key by our office. If you do not respond quickly to emails, please let us know. We use email frequently as it is a perfect tool for documenting, scheduling, and confirming the entire process.  It’s a major benefit when we can recount everything we could possibly need about a property, and your preferences with a quick search of our emails. If we inspect a property and have repairs / other items to recommend, it’s important that you answer our questions promptly, and definitively.  We truly understand the importance of keeping expenses to a minimum. If we recommend cleaning or repairs, it is only because we think the improvements are critical for what we hope to accomplish in your specific situation. We would not recommend it unless it helps to get a home rented. 

Our goal at  MoveZen is to have all our homes occupied in 30-45 days with excellent residents. Never doubt that your property is being made a priority as we are extremely oriented in reaching our goals every time! Pricing and selection is an art, not a science. In most cases we could fill all of our rentals in the first week, however our extremely selective application procedure is designed for long term success while minimizing risk and headaches. In almost every case the reason for delays can be attributed to 4 things: 

1. Owner refusing to clean, or handle red flag type repairs that are guaranteed to deter from the homes appeal. Also, not completing red flag repairs attracts terrible tenants. These properties almost always get dropped from our inventory. We understand that times are very hard and we will work with you, but over time some action is required. 

2. Owner refuses to respond to the market. We offer every owner the option to start the advertising at whatever price point they would like to test the market. Because our advertising is so successful and FAST, within days we will have a plethora of statistics to analyze and discuss. We once had a client receive 10K listing views in 60 days and only reduce the rate $25 a month. Unfortunately unrealistic owners always look back and notice that the months of vacancy wiped out any gains they may have had, and almost always the rate ends up reduced anyways. In this case it was $775 a month for at least 6 months including time with another manager. As a result of our updates, and statistical tracking our owners almost always understand, and are in full agreement when a price reduction becomes necessary. 

3. Fall and spring are by far the best time to find qualified residents. Dec-Feb, as well as back to school (late Aug-early Oct) are unfavorable times to find tenants. We have occasionally missed the mark during these times. 4. Owner failing to provide us with the necessary information and required items. Paperwork, repair / quote issues, and keys are the most common causes for rental delays. It is always best to drop off, or mail keys yourself. When 3rd parties get involved, it results in a delay nearly 75% of the time. Tenants are very fickle, and hasty. They do not like to keep appointments to view rentals. Occupied homes receive about 60% less showings than vacant homes and are usually in moving condition, and tenants rarely have the vision to see past this. We are still very superior to the competition in our handling of occupied rentals, bu

It is very common for us to make several calls or emails to iron out kinks and questions in the first week or two. We apologize, but because we are so flexible with our resident selection system, we occasionally need clarification early on. You can always login to your owner portal 24 hours a day to check the statistics on your advertising. 

Our application process is as stringent as anyone in the industry, even if it means delaying income for the moment in favor of reduced expenses and headaches later. On average we decline 3 applications per property. Clearly, if we accepted more applications, we could fill homes faster. However, everything we do here at MoveZen is long term oriented and based on years of experience. 

Commonly, residents submit a list of repairs they expect to be done before they move in. Sometimes these are very reasonable, and often they are ridiculous. We actually use this as a method of gauging whether this prospect will drown us in maintenance costs / time. It is not uncommon for us to weigh this issue heavily when considering an applicant. If the list is reasonable in our opinion, we will present the request to you for approval and instructions for handling. Whenever possible, we highly recommend letting the tenants move in a few days early. NO tenants ever move in without payment of agreed upon security deposit, and first month’s rent. If they elect to pay early, it’s a great way to start the relationship off on a good note, and give us some breathing room on maintenance issues that arise. It is very common for maintenance issues to arise after a home has been vacant for just 30 days or so. Longer vacancy usually lends itself to more move in maintenance issues. Tenants are notified of this just before move in. While we are extremely suspecting, issues do occasionally arrive even immediately after an owner or tenant has vacated. Another possibility is that a previous tenant didn’t report the problem.  Throughout the lease, a good rule of thumb to ensure that we as landlords and managers remain within the law is, if the item was functional in the home upon move-in, we are generally required to repair it unless user error is determined to be the problem. Some issues are more likely, but not always attributed to human error such as clogged pipes, and frozen disposals. Once again, we look out for you. Our contractors are well informed on the importance of investigating causes for service calls and quickly notifying the office. Of course older homes consistently have plumbing issues, so variables such as this are applied as well. Other items rarely a result of human error are appliance problems, and HVAC. However we do require the air filter be changed every 30 days, and our contractors investigate whether this is the cause.

Rental proceeds are paid around the 10th of each month. Very rarely are checks delayed, which is usually the result of unpaid rent. Move in accounting, and tenant placement service accounting can sometimes take a little additional time as they are much more complex and typically have more incoming information. Please allow up to 10 additional days in these situations. We are charged a large fee for every ACH transaction, so if we only have one or two checks to pay, we sometimes mail. If mailing is not a viable option please notify us immediately and be aware it could add a few days to a payment. 

Please consult your specific lease, but in most cases the owner, and resident must give 60 days written notice if they do not intend to renew the lease. Depending on several factors such as quality of tenant, the lease may renew for a year, or just go month to month. Once again, please consult your copy and make an important note to address the date in which changes must be made.

We mostly manage long-term single-family houses, condos, and townhomes. We also specialize in multi-family buildings such as apartment complexes and multiplexes. Most of our properties are unfurnished, but we have the policy and experience to thrive with higher-end furnished homes. We do not manage rooming houses, rental rooms, rentals under three months, or commercial properties other than apartment buildings. We also do not handle HOA grounds management

Our goal is to have your home rented within 30-45 days in most cases, and we often do much better. While we could rent most homes in the first week, our obsessive attention to tenant quality, and proven method of balancing vacancy with the highest possible rental rate, have led us to identify this period of time as making the most financial sense. For owners looking to reduce vacancy, we have strategies for that also. They typically involve a more aggressive rental rate as you can’t have your cake and eat it too in rental investing, but there are stark benefits to this approach. The secret to renting your home fast comes in four parts.

The first is making sure the rental is in excellent showing condition. We want to make sure all minor repairs are complete, and the general condition of the property is good before any tenants take a look. We keep a laser-focused eye on return on investment, so we never recommend costly changes unless they are critically necessary. In most cases, our advice on repairs / updates will net a very solid return over just 12 months, and we focus on lasting improvements over those that are more superficial, which we discuss in detail here…

Repairs should always be completed asap unless they’re extensive, then we typically work out a minimum cash flow approach so we can increase the condition and value of the home while maintaining steady income for you. More on this approach…

While our professional experience and speed are critical, in this area we rely on our homeowners to follow our advice and quickly handle or approve recommendations so we can quickly get the property turned over, and income flowing.

The second part is presentation and marketing. We build spectacular presentations, from professional photographs to astounding descriptions; we put passion into every listing. We believe if you view our websites’ active rentals you will quickly see just how important a beautiful presentation is to Victory. Given that we are a medium-sized but fast-growing company, typically with very few active listings, you will also see how effective our strategy is at clearing inventory. Our marketing is truly second to none. Most of our competitors use one simple data feed to syndicate a halfhearted listing presentation to the most basic rental sites and call it a day. We utilize several data feeds, as well as a multitude of creative manual strategies which result in our rentals flat out flooding the web with listings on hundreds of sites. While smaller sites alone are not significant, the aggregation of hundreds proves a powerful lead generator for us. In addition, we maximize our profiles on most large and small sites which gives tenants the extra peace of mind that they are dealing with a respectful and professional organization, that they can feel comfortable committing a year or more of their living situation to. Finally, we utilize a multitude of marketing tricks and tools developed over years of working as a marketing agency for businesses of all types. Exceptional use of keywords, titles, calls to action, etc make a huge difference. Simply getting eyes on a listing will not suffice, your ability to convert these views into inquiries and eventually showings is an issue most barely consider. Not Victory however, we have a phenomenal & detailed system.

Pricing is the third aspect of renting homes quickly. We will give you a realistic rental rate estimate for your home based on comparable properties nearby. Determining rental rates is more of an art than a science, and there is a direct correlation between rental rates and vacancy. If the price is too high then your home will almost surely sit vacant longer than necessary. The average homeowner pays $55 a day to carry a vacant home. Striking a perfect balance between a great rate and filling the property quickly is critical, and we have a spectacular, proven method. We begin our marketing typically 10-15% higher than the rate we expect to receive, and then systematically reduce approximately $50 every 7-10 days until rented. Seasonal issues can play a role (discussed in other questions), as well as other issues such as condition & occupancy, but in general, we find that using a variation of this method is extremely beneficial and keeps us from making pricing mistakes in what is always a very fluid market.

Finally, ease of showing can be crucial. Occupied homes typically receive about 60% less showings than vacant ones. We also have nearly 30% no show on appointments. While this is often unavoidable, it paints the picture of how an extremely flexible and proactive showing policy can make a huge difference.

In general there are typically quite a few homes to choose from and tenants these days are less patient than ever. They often will not view a marginal choice if it requires a time-consuming appointment process. When possible, our method simplifies the viewing process enormously to maximize the number of potential leads viewing the rental. More on this subject here…

When someone is interested in your property, they can easily apply online 24/7. Our application procedure involves:

· A national credit and background check
· Current employee / income verification
· Several years past rental history including eviction search
· A proven proprietary method for generating honest responses to open-ended questions regarding the tenant’s situation.

We then analyze the full picture rather than simply the notoriously narrow beacon score. Our method has served us extremely well, as over the past decade we have only evicted a handful of tenants that we chose.

If the applicant passes our screening process, we will instruct them to pay the security deposit within 24 hours, or risk losing the home. We collect at least one full month’s rent as a deposit, but often much more. We will then execute the lease and send a finalized copy to you. We utilize a standard lease written by the NC Bar Association. We usually press tenants to sign a two-year lease as reducing turnover can be a major contributor to bottom-line profitability, but almost always require at least a one-year commitment. In some situations, we may find a shorter term to be beneficial, but this is discussed in-depth with you before we move in that direction. Seasonal issues are the most common reason for shorter-term leases. See more here…

We then typically handle the bulk of our accounting and owner payments around the 10th, and 20th of the month. In most cases, we do not disburse funds until the tenant has moved into the property. The tenant’s security deposit is held in an escrow account per NC real estate law.

One huge reason we discuss in other questions is the fact that management expenses are tax-deductible, which makes it much more affordable than most account for. Another issue most landlords fail to account for is the value of your time. If you have little better to do then great, however, most of our customers have careers they are excellent at, as well as flourishing personal lives. In these cases, it typically makes sense to let a dedicated low-cost pro handle the headaches so you can focus on what really matters. Other reasons include…

  1. Risk: Unfortunately we’ve had many owners come to us after suffering massive losses. Problem tenants are usually astonishingly effective at manipulating inexperienced landlords, and even those who are very experienced if they lack discipline at any point. Furthermore, even good tenants can overstep their boundaries at times, especially when the rules and expectations aren’t crystal clear & consistent. The laws regarding how to handle rental problems are extremely detailed and lengthy, so by the time a major problem is addressed, in most instances, a large amount of damage has already occurred. Failing to word a document properly or moving too quickly in many situations can lead to a lost eviction hearing and costly delays, not to mention a possible civil suit filed by the tenant. 
  2. Time. Rental Management requires a large amount of time even in great situations. Standard tasks include documentation, scheduling, marketing, accounting, etc. Many of these services require expenses of their own. Now mix in a picky or problem tenant, and you could quickly find yourself drowning in tedious, time-consuming research to figure out your best legal & strategic options. Now that you’re halfway there, you then have to begin to execute those tasks quickly & effectively. 
  3. Convenience, for what is effectively very little cost. As we mentioned before, management fees are tax-deductible so most landlords typically get a 30% discount off of their management costs at tax time. In this light, it’s exceptionally difficult to justify the time spent for self-management, relative to the minor cost even for an average management experience. In most cases a phenomenal manager like Victory will earn their customers a large amount of additional net income (after management expenses) by increasing revenue, decreasing expenses, and minimizing risk. The combination of these three factors can be extremely lucrative while also freeing you up to focus on what is truly important in your own life. In addition to basic tenant/property services we also include at no charge ACH rent deposits saving you dozens of trips to the bank and allowing funds to clear much faster, end of year tax accounting, contractor referrals, 24/7 emergency availability, and much more

First, we’d like to point out two issues that are often overlooked when considering professional management.

  1. Many homeowners fail to account for the cost of their own time. Most of us have a main job / talents that are most efficient for us financially, and personally. Even when you manage your own rental, the time you spend is an expense. You’re expending time that you could otherwise focus on what you are most financially proficient at, or your personal happiness. Do not make the mistake of thinking you are saving a ton of money by managing your own rental. The main argument for managing your own rental is not saving the small management expense, but being able to gain a significantly better return. For example, if you save $1200 in a year by managing your own home, that would be 100% offset if your manager were able to net just 10% more on the monthly rate, or if they are able to rent the home just 30 days faster. In most cases, a very good manager should have no problem getting these results, as well as many others throughout the tenancy. Couple this with the time and headaches saved, self-management rarely makes sense unless you simply cannot find a phenomenal manager like MoveZen.
  2. Management fees in most cases are 100% deductible. If you pay your manager $1200 over the course of a year to manage your home, for the average American this would reduce your tax payment by $360 meaning the net cost of management would be closer to $840 a year for the average owner.

    The process for all three options is the exact same up until the tenant moves in, this is where the differences come into effect.

    Tenant placement only- With tenant placement there is no monthly fee or commitment. Once we place your preferred tenant, we collect a one-time fee from the tenants’ first month’s rent and disburse the balance plus any tenant deposits to you. From that point forward you will then handle 100% of the management of the property. We utilize a standard lease written by the NC Bar Association, apply the same rigorous qualification methods, and stand behind our work by offering a prorated credit on new placement if the tenant breaks their lease and vacates. Caveat – We are exceptional at setting crystal clear terms & handling problem tenants, and this is a second major reason why we rarely have to evict. Simply choosing a tenant is only half of the battle, and we get better results when we manage the entire process, because we are so clear on instructions, and so aggressive with problems.

    At some point, we may have to stop managing properties that utilize home warranties. We also do not feel they are financially beneficial on average, an idea that would make sense as they have to find profitability somehow, and that is usually at everyone’s expense by providing horrible service while using terrible contractors and extremely long time frames. See more here…

Full-service monthly management is exactly that. In short, we oversee every aspect from the moment of our partnership, until the home is taken off of the market. Many of our clients have had dozens of tenants over the years. Many make huge incomes and barely ever lift a finger. We are firm believers in communication and never surprising our customers, so while we handle everything, we still maintain clear communication when issues arise.

This can be a quite complex question requiring detailed research, and often some marketing to truly determine with certainty. The most important point to keep in mind is that the market will always set the rate with only small deviations regardless of how spectacular your marketing and presentation may be. We find that the individual question of monthly rental rate is not exceptionally helpful and at times can actually be misleading. For example, if you rent a $1000 a month home for $1200 but have to evict the tenant after 6 months due to nonpayment, you’ve now lost out on nearly $2000 in pure expenses, and that’s assuming they don’t damage the property. You would also have to factor in the additional vacancy, basic turnover costs, and perhaps marketing expenses to get the home rerented. If the eviction occurs in winter you will likely get 10-15% less than you would have gotten with a summer lease. With that fact out of the way, setting a rental rate is usually relatively simple. We look at two main factors and then make adjustments from there.

  1. How many, and what are similar nearby homes currently listed for?
  2. What have similar nearby homes been renting for?

Once we establish these two figures we then adjust for unique features the property may have, whether pets are allowed

and seasonal issues

Often there is sparse data on comparables, or a home is simply so unique basic adjustments won’t do the trick. Our system for setting rental rates addresses this issue extremely well. We always point out that pricing is truly an art, not a science, and we approach the process with exceptional flexibility even in situations where we do have good comparable data. Getting the best rental rate begins with presentation and marketing. A great home poorly presented and/or marketed will rent for a discount. This is why we put so much effort into those two phases as it often alleviates problems such as low tenant quality, and owners who are unhappy with their income. At this point, we typically begin marketing the property 10-15% higher than the rate we expect to receive after analyzing the market data. We then systematically reduce about $50 every 7-10 days or so. These reductions serve a multitude of purposes with the most important being the auto notice emails that many receive when a home they have shown interest in is reduced. This allows us to get leads interested over and over, and to spike traffic just as it tends to start fading. If we can get the higher rate we will and often do, but we will not be waiting and hoping. We are instead objectively proactive as to what the market will bear, and typically rent most of our homes after 2 reductions (figures vary by season, condition, and for properties that rent for very low or high rates). When we complete your virtual rental evaluation we typically provide 3 figures. The average rental rate and what we expect to receive, the rate where we will begin marketing, and a bottom-line rate we do not expect to have to go below. If the bottom line rate isn’t an option for you, then it’s best that we not manage the property, as the market ultimately determines the rate, and we don’t have a magic bullet. Instead, we do a lot of small things exceptionally well, and this typically adds up to excellence. The rental market is much more fluid than many realize, and we like to be upfront as to all possible outcomes. For more on pricing your rental see…

Be available and timely when we request information, clarification, or approval. Delaying approval on repairs or paperwork, relying on friends to provide important things such as keys, incomplete or shoddy repairs, and lack of direct, organized, decisive communication are the top causes of delays. Micromanagement is the #1 cause of avoidable delays.

  1. The most important thing is to communicate clearly and quickly with your property manager and/or contractors. Whether you are handling much of the make-ready repairs yourself or having a professional handle them, swift communication is key. Delays on issues such as arranging a key, timing for photographs, approval for repair quotes, requesting large numbers of quotes, all add up to produce very large lags before making it to market. Be realistic with expectations, and understand that savings from excessive quotes or handling repairs yourself are typically wiped out or even eclipsed by lost rental income. All too often we have had owners take a home off the market for several months to handle repairs themselves, save at best a thousand dollars, yet waste huge amounts of personal and rental time while taking 30+ days longer than we would have to get the home to market. In the end the net result is a lot of lost money and time, often significant. Understand that most decisions have pros and cons, and consider the total relative picture before making decisions.
  2. Make sure the home is in good condition. It’s that simple. While almost no rental is in spectacular shape if a home has a lot of visible issues, your bottom line profit will suffer, your manager will struggle, your tenants will be less likely to care for the place, and all too often the owners of these properties blame everyone else for their problems. In real estate investment, as in life, you can rarely if ever have your cake and eat it too. With only a few exceptions, if you save $100 on repair expenses, over the long run you typically lose $100 in revenue. It’s not always easy to know which upgrades and renovations are likely to increase your return on investment and not be wasted, but a few items are almost guaranteed to decrease your return. Punch list type repairs, shoddy work, half-finished jobs, really rough paint, and severely stained carpet, are all almost guaranteed to increase vacancy, attract terrible tenants, and fetch dramatically lower monthly rates. We keep a keen eye on returns on investment and often opt not to replace the carpet in lieu of longer-lasting repair investments such as updating an older bathroom, but the line between acceptable and unacceptable is very fine, and typically only those with a wealth of experience can identify it with consistency. Neighborhood, the overall value of the home and time of year can all play a part in the best repair strategy. We never ask our owners to provide a perfect house, but particularly long-lasting repairs and all punch list type issues should be handled immediately. Otherwise, we make recommendations on a case-by-case basis, but a good rule of thumb is that if you wouldn’t want to deal with those issues in your home, you probably shouldn’t try to pass it off to someone else. (once more our Golden Rule philosophy guides most of our decisions) Many owners often ask us if their outdated home is going to be a problem, and our response is always the same. We can work around outdated designs for the most part, but a nearly brand new home that gives the appearance of being neglected, or opting for sloppy contractors / repairs, can be a major problem. Assuming your manager doesn’t have a profit incentive as a result of recommending maintenance / repairs, follow their advice and you will typically rent your home sooner. Even if they are only mediocre, their advice is usually helpful as they are in the trenches every day, and receive feedback from dozens of tenants each week. (we do not upcharge on maintenance or receive a management fee on vacant homes, so our incentives are aligned with yours) 
  3. Respond appropriately to renter market conditions only. With little more than small deviations, the market sets the rate for your home. Your monthly payment, interest rate, HOA dues, or any other factors not providing a direct benefit to renters, are distractions that often hurt profitability for landlords. Furthermore, the highest quality tenants almost always pay slightly less per month than the market average. While doggedly fighting for the highest possible rate may earn more in revenue early on, typically this results in lower quality tenants, which almost guarantee higher expenses that offset or exceed higher revenue due to wasted time, problem tenant expenses, more repairs / upkeep, and more vacancy. See more on this common mistake here… 

We have found for example that whenever we receive several poor quality applications, that is a sure sign the rental is slightly overpriced. Many landlords make the mistake of seeing this as an opportunity to profit, and it is anything but. Your best bet is catering to the more financially astute tenants, accepting slightly less on rate, & knowing that on average this works to your advantage in saved expenses, time, headaches, and risk. This is also discussed in depth in the above link. While we agree that a minimum rate should be in place, that rate must be within reason, as vacancy itself is a costly expense, and includes other drawbacks such as liability, and surprisingly frequent maintenance issues. We take extreme pride in having the highest possible average rental rates while not sacrificing tenant quality. Vacancy costs us a fraction of what it costs the homeowner. We are keenly aware of this, as we ourselves are rental owners. What we can say without a doubt is that we would only reduce the rate, or invest in an upgrade, if we feel it is important enough that we would do so if we owned the home ourselves.

Most importantly, we will treat the home as if it’s our own. We take a personal interest in all of our listings, as well as our overall ability to achieve consistent above-average statistical results. Our rental listing presentations are second to none, and we feel this is immediately apparent when viewing vacant properties on our site. What many managers and landlords fail to realize is that a phenomenal presentation can help dramatically to set the whole process off on a great note. Great presentations bring in substantially more high-quality leads, which leads to superior tenant selection, which leads to less vacancy, less maintenance, and fewer turnover costs. Not to mention dramatically reducing the risk of a major negative event that can wipe out years of profit. Great management starts with great presentation / marketing, and no competitor can compete with us, just check our site! Our rental listings blow our competitors away, as well as most sales listings. The only time a competitor competes with us on presentation is when they borrow from a solid sales listing.
Since the rental market is a complex environment we feel it’s best to manage according to statistical experience rather than individual expectations. In other words, we leave emotion out of our decision-making process as that mistake is often the main reason landlords find themselves unhappy. For example, rather than trying to identify subjective specifics that may cause a home to rent higher than the nearby competition and adjusting price accordingly, we simply (within reason of course) begin our marketing rates on the high side (typically 10-15%) then systematically reduce, with some variation to account for lead response. If we can get the higher rate we will, if not, however, we won’t be waiting and hoping. Pricing is an art, not a science, and we feel we balance rate with vacancy better than anyone. One thing we WILL NOT do to rent your property is make a serious concession on tenant quality simply to fill a void, placate an unhappy owner, or increase our short-term profitability. VRE always takes the long view, and a few days of vacancy, or a slightly lower rate is perfectly fine if we get exceptional long-term results, and avoid major mistakes. To find an itemized list of our services visit this link…

We use a gold standard lease written by the NC Bar Association that protects owners very well while guaranteeing no problems should it need to be legally enforced. In almost all cases we include a few proprietary provisions such as no smoking, and that homes can’t be listed for sale until notice to vacate is given by either party. We typically require 60 days’ notice, although we occasionally opt for 30 days if we think we may want the property back quickly for various reasons. This means if you would like to take possession or raise the rent, we must give tenants notice more than 2 months before the end of their lease. For leases that we service, we do not have owners sign. If there are special provisions you want to have included, they need to be discussed at sign up. For placement only management service, only the owner signs the lease. It is still preferable to nail down any concerns / provisions before listing, as they may play a role in pricing & marketing. If you would like to review our lease, do so prior to listing the property. View a sample

https://movezen360.com/victory-property-management-resident-resource

First of all, we would like to mention that a fair amount of tenants do consistently pay late. While we often know this is likely, the credit standards to avoid it entirely are counterproductive. We always recommend an owner escrow at least 2 months of rent, so simple late payments should not create problems for getting the mortgage paid etc. Rent is late after the 5th. When rent is late, we handle all documentation assuming the worse could happen. In our case it rarely ever does, but we’ll be able to move as swiftly as the law permits when required. The first moment that we can evict is 10 days after we notify of a late payment. This is usually the 16th of the month in which they fail to pay, and while we often give one or two additional days, we almost never allow more, and if we do it’ll be discussed in-depth with you. Out tenants are made keenly aware of the significance of that date, and rarely overstep it. If they do, however, we follow all of the guidelines to evict and remove them from the property as quickly as possible according to NC law. Evictions usually take between 30-50 days depending on the court system. In most cases, we evict as swiftly as legally possible. We’re extremely aggressive with few exceptions. We actually do file on a fair amount of tenants, but the vast majority pay the costs and the rent, and it never happens again. We feel our firm and disciplined approach has made it possible for many questionable tenants to stay in their homes, as we simply don’t allow them to get so far behind it’s impossible to dig out. In short, being easy is actually a disservice to the tenant in our opinion.

While we are excellent at keeping expenses to a minimum and focusing with great success on the highest return on investment expenditures, we, unfortunately, can’t assume responsibility for repair costs themselves. As with the amazing benefits of being a landlord, there are also negatives that we aren’t in a position to share in. We do however work tirelessly to find the absolute best “value” contractors in the business. Rather than hiring national companies who typically charge much higher costs and often still deliver subpar results, we opt for locally owned and operated contractors who are held directly responsible for their actions by the community exactly as we are. One major reason many national companies charge more is that they often do a lot of the admin tasks for your property manager, and that is the main reason they are popular. In our case, it’s just the opposite. We are so focused on the quality of fieldwork that our contractors do, we often end up doing a large amount of their admin work ourselves, because their amazing field results warrant this. This philosophy costs us a ton of time and resources each year, yet we still do not charge an additional fee for most maintenance. We can also authorize repairs in most cases without immediate payment given our impeccable community credit & reputation. Most of our owners never send us funds, and when they do it’s for rare and long-term expenses such as a new HVAC, or roof.

No. As with management expenses, you usually get what you pay for. In the long run, ultra-cheap contractors and home warranties usually end up costing more as a result of mistakes, recalls, bait and switch, and extremely upset tenants. We prefer to look for the best value (combination of great service and cost) and we typically achieve this by working with local contractors whose service and actions directly dictate their ability to stay in business. As a result of their advertising and brand recognition, national brands often thrive despite offering horrible value via a painful combination of poor service and results. They do typically offer exceptional administrative departments which eliminate a lot of the work for property managers, and that is why so many of our competitors still use them. We invest more time and effort in cultivating our contractor relations than almost anything else. We pay quickly, act reasonably, and respect our quality contractors to ensure continued competitive pricing. With that said, however, once we identify problems with a contractor, we are ruthless in cutting bills down, callbacks, and removing them from our process. We have phenomenal relationships with most of our contractors. One big exception, ironically in all of our markets, is appliance repairs. We have yet to find an exceptional solution in this department, but rest assured we are always on the hunt.

Given our knowledge of industry norms, we can say with confidence our customers enjoy the lowest maintenance costs imaginable. On average, 2-3% of gross rent for the year, despite an industry average closer to 10%. Most investors allot 10% a year in repair costs for planning purposes, and that is smart. However, our goal is to smash that number year after year and we usually succeed. Obviously, things can vary dramatically on a case-by-case basis. If your home is clearly in serious need of repairs, those figures will most likely be higher. By far, our client’s largest expenses usually come from air conditioners/furnaces, and appliances. It is rare to repair a heat/cool source for under $300. These issues tend to arise once every few years unless the owner opts to service a terrible unit rather than replacing it as needed. Appliances are tricky because often the repair costs are close to what you can pay for an excellent used replacement. Despite interviewing almost all, we have struggled to find an appliance company that charges less than $75 for a service call, and this dramatically complicates the question of whether to repair or replace. Of course, used appliances (typically do not buy used for refrigerators or dishwashers) have their risks, but in most cases, we’re able to secure a short warranty. We rarely use electricians, plumbers, or roofers, opting to use handymen whenever possible. This dramatically keeps costs down but does make our job much harder. Turnover costs are reflected in our repair figures. In most cases, an owner has to handle some minor cleaning, touch-up paint, and a few small repairs in between tenants. Due to our extremely low turnover, and exceptional contractors, we are able to keep these costs very low as well. Preventative maintenance and upgrades are not reflected in our repair figures, as they are extremely subjective. Our contractors though have helped a lot of our owners in making major renovations at extremely competitive rates. Due to the personal preferences and complexity, in most cases, we take a minor role in upgrades, and expect the owner to communicate, and often pay contractors directly. For more, see the full FAQ document

What Should I Expect Regarding Yearly Maintenance Costs?

​​​Most importantly, in a post COVID world managing housing is simply very hard. The stakes are also much higher, which makes people much more aggressive and unwilling to accept problems.  Maintenance issues have increased dramatically in frequency and severity, great contractors are a nightmare to secure and we have a 98% failure rate when we contact a potential target, yet we must do this constantly because even our more established vendors tend to fail eventually.. The technology to properly manage a rental is getting very complex and expensive, and sites that were once free to landlords now charge or throttle your listing. Renters tend to be cautious about renting from a private landlord because they know their quirks are more likely to shine through and cause them unhappiness. Or that the technology for online payment and maintenance is less likely to be there, deposit charges will be less standardized, and speed of repairs is more likely to be subpar​.

One huge reason we discuss in other questions, and that is the fact that management expenses are tax deductible, which makes it much more affordable than most account for. Another issue most landlords fail to account for is the value of your time. If you have little better to do then great, however most of our customers have careers they are excellent at, as well as flourishing personal lives. In these cases it typically makes sense to let a dedicated low cost pro handle the headaches so you can focus on what really matters. Other reasons include​.

Risk: Unfortunately we’ve had many owners come to us after suffering massive losses. Problem tenants are usually astonishingly effective at manipulating inexperienced landlords, and even those who are very experienced if they lack discipline at any point. Furthermore, even good tenants can overstep their boundaries at times, especially when the rules and expectations aren’t crystal clear & consistent. The laws regarding how to handle rental problems are extremely detailed and lengthy, so by the time a major problem is addressed, in most instances a large amount of damage has already occurred. Failing to word a document properly or moving too quickly in many situations can lead to a lost eviction hearing and costly delays, not to mention a possible civil suit filed by the tenant.  

Time. Rental Management requires a large amount of time even in great situations. Standard tasks include documentation, scheduling, marketing, accounting, etc. Many of these services require expenses of their own. Now mix in a picky or problem tenant, and you could quickly find yourself drowning in tedious, time consuming research to figure out your best legal & strategic options. Now that you’re half way there, you then have to begin to execute those tasks quickly & effectively.  

Convenience, for what is effectively very little cost. As we mentioned before, management fees are tax deductible so most landlords typically get a 30% discount off of their management costs at tax time. In this light, it’s exceptionally difficult to justify the time spent for self-management, relative to the minor cost even for an average management experience. In most cases a phenomenal manager like ​M​oveZen will earn their customers a large amount of additional net income (after management expenses) by increasing revenue, decreasing expenses, and minimizing risk. The combination of these three factors can be extremely lucrative while also freeing you up to focus on what is truly important in your own life. In addition to basic tenant/property services we also include at no charge ACH rent deposits saving you dozens of trips to the bank and allowing funds to clear much faster, end of year tax accounting, contractor referrals, 24/7 emergency availability, and much more​.

In general, we are extremely careful about recommending preventative or elective expenses to our customers. As you may imagine, owners tend to be suspecting of our motives when we recommend costs that do not have a direct effect on our ability to keep a home rented to good tenants. For this reason, we focus 90% of our attention on costs that deliver the most ROI or return on investment. Meaning fixes or upgrades that are likely to lead to higher rents and better quality tenants. Obviously, there are exceptions, we certainly will not ignore issues that are likely to lead to additional problems such as rotting wood / water intrusion, etc, but we won’t press the issue unless it directly affects rentability. The majority of our owners prefer to focus on cash flow, rather than marginal property preservation. This is our advice also. I’ll touch on our reasoning, and how to make the most of it. In other questions, we discuss the issue of rent versus sale ready. The two are totally different concepts. We often have exceptional success renting homes with rough carpet and paint. However, even in today’s relatively hot sales market, those minor issues can be brutal to your ability to sell at all, let alone thrive. This means, even if we were to focus a fair amount of attention and spending on marginal upkeep, most owners would still be required to replace all carpets and do a significant paint job at a minimum. When we paint for example, more often than not we would only spend about $400 on the average 3BR home. A sales quality paint job however should run at least $1500, probably much more. We also rarely paint trim and doors, and this is typically needed prior to sale. Therefore our best option is to maximize cash flow while we manage the home, advise owners to earmark a portion of this above-average income for an eventual refresh prior to sale or move in, and enjoy the benefits of both increased cash flow and a fresh start. Trying to keep a rental anywhere close to sales quality over time is an expensive lesson in futility as no one, not even the best tenants, will treat a home as well as the owner. If you would like to be liberal with property preservation, termite bonds and inspections, and other optional costs, simply make this desire clear to our staff and we’ll maintain exceptional vigilance and communication on the matter

We currently make the majority of management decisions for nearly 300 million dollars of real estate assets. Our management focus began merely as a favor to a loyal sales client (ironically we no longer handle sales), and since then has grown by an average of 40% a year during the worst housing crisis since the ’30s. Our staff’s prior experience includes vacation rental management, university housing, rehab and renovation, real estate sales, home building, and general business marketing. We have an A+ rating with the BBB, as well as excellent standing with the following agencies: NARPM, Dozens of Chambers of Commerce, North Carolina Housing Coalition, ARPOLA, National Apartment Association, National Association of Realtors, and many more. Finally, we have a long history of excellent online reviews across dozens of different sites dating back to the beginning of our company, long before online reviews were aggressively cultivated as many do these days. Victory has always held our reputation for honesty and integrity above all else. While we’ve had disagreements over procedure, our honesty has never seriously been questioned

We manage a wide range of both homes and investors. Many are mom & pop types who mostly converted their primary residence into a rental after needing to move. With that early success, many have chosen to keep building their single-family rental portfolio along with us, and are now sophisticated real estate investors. Most of the multi-family investors we work with have been involved with real estate investing their entire careers. They understand the math that goes into measuring or comparing multi-family investments, the decisions that must be made to keep net operating income within those calculations, and most importantly that emotional real estate investing is a mistake. While the properties themselves are a bit different, at the end of the day managing a 200 unit apartment complex is actually quite a bit easier than an extremely varied portfolio of single-family houses, townhomes, and condos. The bigger difference between single and multi-family property management is the investors themselves. With multi-family we’re able to focus solely on the profit & loss figures, and how various decisions will affect them. Emotion plays a much smaller role, and the horizon for decision-making is much longer term. While we take pride in keeping emotion out of our single-family management decisions, in the end, you’ll need to treat a home someone once lived in quite a bit differently than an apartment complex someone bought as an investment hedge on inflation, that also helps maximize their tax treatment

Most importantly, we will treat the home as if it’s our own. We take a personal interest in all of our listings, as well as our overall ability to achieve consistent above average statistical results.

Our rental listing presentations are second to none, and we feel this is immediately apparent when viewing vacant properties on our site. What many managers and landlords fail to realize is that a phenomenal presentation can help dramatically to set the whole process off on a great note.

Great presentations bring in substantially more high quality leads, which leads to superior tenant selection, which leads to less vacancy, less maintenance, and less turnover costs. Not to mention dramatically reducing the risk of a major negative event which can wipe out years of profit.

Great management starts with great presentation / marketing, and no competitor can compete with us, just check our site! Our rental listings blow our competitors away, as well as most sales listings. The only time a competitor competes with us on presentation is when they borrow from a solid sales listing.  

Since the rental market is a complex environment we feel it’s best to manage according to statistical experience rather than individual expectations. In other words, we leave emotion out of our decision making process as that mistake is often the main reason landlords find themselves unhappy. 

For example, rather than trying to identify subjective specifics that may cause a home to rent higher than nearby competition and adjusting price accordingly, we simply (within reason of course) begin our marketing rates on the high side (typically 10-15%) then systematically reduce, with some variation to account for lead response.

If we can get the higher rate we will, if not however, we won’t be waiting and hoping. Pricing is an art, not a science, and we feel we balance rate with vacancy better than anyone.

One thing we WILL NOT do to rent your property is make a serious concession on tenant quality simply to fill a void, placate an unhappy owner, or increase our short term profitability.

MoveZen always takes the long view, and a few days of vacancy, or a slightly lower rate is perfectly fine if we get exceptional long term results, and avoid major mistakes.

To find an itemized list of our services visit this link. http://movezen360.com/management-services/

That’s great!  It means we can take our time and be judicious.  Here are the most important first steps

1.  Notify the resident that Victory Property Management will be taking over their lease, and will be the company to send payment to going forward

2.  Get us a copy of the lease, in particular, but also give your account manager a general run down of your experience wit the current resident.  Without knowing the exact lease terms we are dramatically limited in our ability to plan or enforce

3.  Get us their full contact information, all avenues, all contacts, but also highlight the best method

4.  Get us formal records regarding the payment situation. If they’re in good standing, we don’t need much other than confirmation of how much the deposits are, where they’ll be located, and how they’ll be handled on move out. Most owners send us the deposit to hold in our trust account

Once we have these two items we send the resident a verification notice of what the deposit amounts are, who is currently holding them, and what the intended plans are. This will cover us from evolving terms once they move out

5.  Within 30 days our account managers are expected to inspect the home, however that can be difficult if we don’t receive these items promptly.  We want to build rapport early in the process, so we usually do not do an extensive interior inspection unless there are issues we or the resident feel warrant that.  It’s more of a meet and greet, quickly assess, and do a thorough inspection of the exterior / general condition of the property, community, and features.  Of course, this also gets us face-to-face with our new residents most of the time and allows us to send the clear message that our company is both fair and reasonable, but also highly engaged with all aspects of their stay with us

Payment:  In order to avoid having a rent payment go to the wrong location, it’s imperative that we move quickly to update the resident’s payment instructions, instill trust, and provide them a portal / link.  That means it’s imperative that we receive the 4 items above quickly

Even still, residents often have auto payments setup, or are unsure if we can be trusted, or simply forget and it’s not unusual for the first payment to be sent with the method they’re used to

We also need the following direct deposit authorization form so we can then disburse those funds to you

ACH / Direct deposit authorization form with instructions for returning

Residents are notoriously difficult to get a key from, so it’s significantly better if you provide us with 3 copies of each one, but at this stage particularly one for some access.  If we negotiate one with the tenant we often give a $10 or $15 credit for the hassle

Be available and timely when we request information, clarification, or approval. Delaying approval on repairs or paperwork, relying on friends to provide important things such as keys, incomplete or shoddy repairs, and lack of direct, organized, decisive communication are the top causes of delays. Micro management is the #1 cause of avoidable delays. 

The most important thing is to communicate clearly and quickly with your property manager and/or contractors. Whether you are handling much of the make ready repairs yourself, or having a professional handle them, swift communication is key. 

Delays on issues such as arranging a key, timing for photographs, approval for repair quotes, requesting large numbers of quotes, all add up to produce very large lags before making it to market. 

Be realistic with expectations, and understand that savings from excessive quotes or handling repairs yourself are typically wiped out or even eclipsed by lost rental income. All too often we have had owners take a home off the market for several months to handle repairs themselves, save at best a thousand dollars, yet waste huge amounts of personal and rental time while taking 30+ days longer than we would have to get the home to market. In the end the net result is a lot of lost money and time, often significant. 

Understand that most decisions have pros and cons, and consider the total relative picture before making decisions. 

Make sure the home is in good condition. It’s that simple. While almost no rental is in spectacular shape, if a home has a lot of visible issues, your bottom line profit will suffer, your manager will struggle, your tenants will be less likely to care for the place, and all too often the owners of these properties blame everyone else for their problems. 

In real estate investment, as in life, you can rarely if ever have your cake and eat it too. With only a few exceptions, if you save $100 on repair expenses, over the long run you typically lose $100 in revenue. 

It’s not always easy to know which upgrades and renovations are likely to increase your return on investment and not be wasted, but a few items are almost guaranteed to decrease your return. 

Punch list type repairs, shoddy work, half-finished jobs, really rough paint, and severely stained carpet, are all almost guaranteed to increase vacancy, attract terrible tenants, and fetch dramatically lower monthly rates. 

We keep a keen eye on returns on investment, and often opt not to replace carpet in lieu of longer lasting repair investments such as updating an older bathroom, but the line between acceptable and unacceptable is very fine, and typically only those with a wealth of experience can identify it with consistency. Neighborhood, overall value of the home, and time of year can all play a part in the best repair strategy. We never ask our owners to provide a perfect house, but particularly long lasting repairs and all punch list type issues should be handled immediately. 

Otherwise we make recommendations on a case by case basis, but a good rule of thumb is that if you wouldn’t want to deal with those issues in your home, you probably shouldn’t try to pass it off to someone else. (once more our Golden Rule philosophy guides most of our decisions) 

Many owners often ask us if their outdated home is going to be a problem, and our response is always the same. We can work around outdated designs for the most part, but a nearly brand new home that gives the appearance of being neglected, or opting for sloppy contractors / repairs, can be a major problem. Assuming your manager doesn’t have a profit incentive as a result of recommending maintenance / repairs, follow their advice and you will typically rent your home sooner. 

Even if they are only mediocre, their advice is usually helpful as they are in the trenches every day, and receive feedback from dozens of tenants each week. (we do not upcharge on maintenance or receive a management fee on vacant homes, so our incentives are aligned with yours) . 

We created this quick help ticket system so you can get a 2nd opinion easily at any time from some of our most experienced staff

Respond appropriately to renter market conditions only. With little more than small deviations, the market sets the rate for your home. Your monthly payment, interest rate, HOA dues, or any other factors not providing a direct benefit to renters, are distractions that often hurt profitability for landlords. 

Furthermore, the highest quality tenants almost always pay slightly less per month than the market average. While doggedly fighting for the highest possible rate may earn more in revenue early on, typically this results in lower quality tenants, which almost guarantee higher expenses that offset or exceed higher revenue due to wasted time, problem tenant expenses, more repairs / upkeep, and more vacancy. 

See more on this common mistake here… https://movezen360.com/peril-need-get-set-a-price-rental-listing/

We have found for example that whenever we receive several poor quality applications, that is a sure sign the rental is slightly overpriced. Many landlords make the mistake of seeing this as an opportunity to profit, and it is anything but. 

Your best bet is catering to the more financially astute tenants, accepting slightly less on rate, & knowing that on average this works to your advantage in saved expenses, time, headaches, and risk. This is also discussed in depth in the above link. 

While we agree that a minimum rate should be in place, that rate must be within reason, as vacancy itself is a costly expense, and includes other drawbacks such as liability, and surprisingly frequent maintenance issues. 

We take extreme pride in having the highest possible average rental rates while not sacrificing tenant quality. Vacancy costs us a fraction of what it costs the homeowner. We are keenly aware of this, as we ourselves are rental owners. What we can say without a doubt is that we would only reduce the rate, or invest in an upgrade, if we feel it is important enough that we would do so if we owned the home ourselves.  

Being a landlord comes with its fair share of responsibilities and challenges. From handling tenant issues to managing property maintenance, the tasks can quickly pile up, consuming your time and mental energy. That’s where professional property management comes into play. Partnering with a property management company is not only a smart financial move but also a means to reclaim your time and peace of mind.

 1. Tax Deductibility: Unlocking Affordability One significant advantage of engaging a property management company is the tax deductibility of management expenses. This financial incentive significantly reduces the overall cost of management services. When tax season arrives, landlords often find themselves benefiting from a 30% discount on their management costs, making professional management an even more appealing and cost-effective option.

2. Your Time is Priceless While some landlords might have the luxury of spare time, many have thriving careers and active personal lives that demand their attention. Juggling property management tasks on top of these responsibilities can quickly become overwhelming. Enlisting a dedicated and affordable professional allows you to focus on what truly matters to you – your career, your family, and your personal growth. Letting experts handle the day-to-day property management hassles is a strategic move that ensures your time is invested where it matters most.

3. Mitigating Risk Navigating the world of rental property management involves numerous legal intricacies and potential pitfalls. Problem tenants can exploit inexperienced landlords, causing substantial financial losses. Even seasoned landlords can find themselves in trouble if they overlook critical details. The complex web of laws and regulations surrounding rental issues can be daunting. A single misstep in documentation or procedure could lead to eviction delays, legal disputes, and financial setbacks. By entrusting professionals with this responsibility, you shield yourself from such risks and ensure that your property is managed within the bounds of the law.

4. Time-Intensive Tasks From paperwork to marketing, accounting to scheduling, property management involves a multitude of tasks that demand attention and time. Adding a difficult tenant into the mix amplifies the complexity. The effort required to research legal options and then execute them swiftly can be overwhelming. Professional property managers are equipped to handle these tasks efficiently, allowing you to sidestep the tedious research and intricate execution.

5. Unbeatable Convenience Contrary to common perception, the cost of property management services is a minor investment compared to the convenience and benefits they provide. As previously mentioned, management fees are tax deductible, resulting in a substantial cost reduction. The time, effort, and stress saved by delegating property management to experts far outweigh the costs. A skilled property management company can even enhance your property’s revenue, reduce expenses, and minimize risks, yielding a higher net income for you.

We understand the challenges landlords face, and we are dedicated to alleviating those burdens. Our services extend beyond basic property management to include ACH rent deposits, end-of-year tax accounting, contractor referrals, 24/7 emergency availability, and more – all at no extra charge. The myth of saving money through self-management is debunked when you consider the comprehensive support and financial benefits that come with professional property management.

The decision to partner with a property management company like us is an investment in financial security, convenience, and personal well-being. By freeing up your time, mitigating risks, and optimizing your property’s potential, professional property management becomes an indispensable tool for landlords seeking to thrive in both their careers and personal lives.

How Long Will it Take to Rent My Home?

How Does the Rental / Leasing Process Work?

How Much Will My Home Rent For? 

What If I Don’t Like the Rental Rate I’m Quoted?

What Will You Do to Rent My Property?

What Can I Do to Get My Home Ready for Photographs & Scans?

What Can I Do To Get My Home Rented More Quickly?

Is It Better To Rent Furnished, or Unfurnished?

Why Shouldn’t I manage Myself?

If My Home Isn’t Renting, What Else Can I Do?

What If I Don’t Want To Allow Pets?

What If There Are Errors On Your Site?  Submit a help ticket please (or let your account manager know)

What If There Are Errors On Other Sites?  It’s very unlikely we have much control over the situation, but submit a help ticket and we’ll let you know (or let your account manager know)

What If I Want To Change Listing Text?  If there’s an error certainly submit it by help ticket or your account manager, but we normally don’t focus on level of text detail, opting to let the photos and eventually the home make the primary case.  This method works well.  If you think something has seriously been missed contact us. We’re particularly interested if that information was provided to us with the onboard form that is meant for nailing down those issues in advance

If You Spend A Large Sum Of Money On Direct Social Ads (larger than we do), Will That Push My Rent Over The Top?  No.  The market is dynamic, fast moving, transparent, and no amount of seeing the same overpriced listing repackaged is going to motivate any serious reconsideration

Coming soon:

What Websites Do You Advertise On? We estimate we reach 90-95% of qualified renter leads, with the funds we pay to Zillow amounting to the primary source of traffic.  3rd parties estimate Zillow alone to drive around 70% of higher quality rental traffic these days.  More coming soon about more important tricks we use to stand out on sites like that and Realtor.com, Apartments.com and more

Can I Use, Buy, or Borrow Photophaphs or 3D Scans of My Home?

What If I Want New Photos Taken and Posted for My Property?

How Might I Use Daily Vacancy Cost (rent / 30) When Making Pricing Decisions?

How Important Is Lot Appeal?

My Listing Is In A Rough Area, Or Under Cared For, Can I Expect Long Term Consistently Great Results From The Best Managers In The Business?  No,  More coming soon but you can’t manage out of a bad area but so much.

We don’t manage furnished homes in most cases. Given today’s rents, a long-term strategy appears to be a better move for all but the most committed rental investors in specific locations. 

In our view AirBnB is a lot of work and risk for very similar bottom line profit, in average cases.  However for our purposes AirBnB and vacation type rentals are a different conversation 

We don’t handle leases under 3 months at all (occupancy tax implications), and rarely under 8 months. So for our purposes we are discussing long-term furnished, versus long term unfurnished, or short term which is where you tend to see much higher top line rates (after expenses is another story).  

While there are personal situations where it makes sense to rent furnished, from a strictly financial perspective it’s much better not to. In situations where an owner plans to move back in after only a short period, it would probably be the superior decision, but not clearly. 

In general, furnished units lead to higher turnover, more vacancy, more touch up paint, more cleaning, and more overall risk. Also furniture degrades much faster than real property. 

We discuss the issue much more in depth here 

To get started fast, we really only need three things from our landlord clients. A signed management agreement, a property in good condition, and keys.

We certainly have some corporate residents at any given time, but we do not have an extensive network of corporate housing contacts. There are similar businesses that specialize in that model but they are usually very restrictive. While they surely have a lot of great contacts, in the markets we cover the good old days of a corporation calling up and paying top dollar rent for a long period in the company name are mostly gone. Most corporate housing assistance comes in the form of a grant to the individual and they handle their own housing. We of course house a ton of these types. Here is more on corporate housing.

We are (MoveZen), we’ve rebranded to represent a much more dynamic and customer focused company

The answer is usually no. Before you make up you choose to offer furnished apartments and other rentals, consider these risk factors:

Offering furnished rentals narrows your target market. There is a specific niche group that is looking for a furnished apartment.

Unfortunately huge sums of money and time are expended trying to gain “Google” rank. There’s no doubt that we’ve entered a digital era where leading companies get there by focusing on rank, not actually building a great system to make owners highly profitable. You rarely even hear that kind of talk anymore, but in an inflationary environment decent service and great service often means the difference between mediocre experience and building real generational wealth as so many of our owners do. Focus on the system, not the smoke and mirrors and certainly not the cost of management since it only makes up about 10% of your total bottom-line results.

Sites like Expertise.com do not provide any useful service whatsoever but they do deter from organizations who do like NARPM. They require us to take an extensive ethics course, report to complaints and meet industry standards year in and year out. Their information is also up to date. Read details on this topic here.

Because we manage homes across a huge portion of North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia we can’t nail down a one size fits all cost. We also offer a few services and options.

In all of our markets, full property management service is about the same as a cup of Starbucks a day, and that is tax deductible. What is your day worth?

We worked with Open AI’s ChatGPT to build this amazing tool to help you do exactly that.

This article covers prioritizing costs generally and is very insightful on this topic.

As you can see we discuss vacancy at length because we consider it to be the most misunderstood issue for most mom and pop landlords.

We worked with OpenAI’s ChatGPT to create this extremely helpful vacancy loss calculator to help simplify this challenging need.

The title of this article probably says it all but don’t take our word for it, google home warranty nightmare.

We are members of NAA (National Apartment Association), NARPM (National Association of Rental Property Managers), NAR (National Association of Realtors), Many Chambers of Commerce, as well as the AANC (Apartment Association of North Carolina). MoveZen is one of if not the highest-rated apartment management companies in every market where we operate

That is a tough question these days. In years past we said everyone should own rentals, but it dramatically tougher in an inflationary environment and we have since changed our tune dramatically. More than anything it comes down to two things. Can you swing a $20,000+ loss without going bankrupt or losing your mind, and do you have the ability to stay out of your own way when making decisions about your rental. Many very smart people make very poor rental decisions when pride or other emotions are on the line. Post COVID it’s basically an epidemic. Many landlords tried to tighten the reigns at the worst possible time. It’s very tough out there, and it’s unlikely the average homeowner is in a good position to make the best strategic decisions.

Here are 6 great reasons to rent instead of sell your home and this was before most owners were locked in 4% rate golden handcuffs.

We almost always offer a placement only option where we do all the work. You can find full details on that below.

We also offer the option to use our lockbox and showing system only for a small charge. We would advertise / market your property, our system can automate half the showing process, and you’d handle it all from that point forward including showings, inquiries etc. A very limited service option. Learn about that here.

The old adage that renters never care for a home like an owner is true, but that doesn’t mean they don’t take care to have a wonderful home of their own. They simply never bring a handyman in or spend much of their own free time and money to upgrade things, whereas the average homeowner brings them in all the time or undertakes consistent fixup jobs themselves

No, at this time we do not manage entire HOA communities. 

Effective property management requires brokers to navigate a complex landscape to ensure harmonious relationships with property owners and tenants. The North Carolina Real Estate Commission has outlined key issues for brokers to address in order to foster successful property management relationships. These issues include:

Clear Agreements: Brokers should have written property management agreements that detail terms such as rent disbursement, tenant screening, inspections, and repair authorization.

Financial Stability: Brokers should inquire about the mortgage status of rental properties to anticipate potential financial challenges.

Tenant Qualifications: Thorough vetting of tenants’ qualifications, including income and rental history, reduces financial risks and property damage.

Document Property Condition: Comprehensive documentation through writing and photos before and after tenancies helps attribute responsibility for damages.

Trust Account Regulations: Brokers must deposit all funds collected into a trust account to ensure financial transparency and compliance.

Timely Rent Disbursement: Efficiently remitting rent proceeds to owner-clients, considering bank clearing times, enhances client satisfaction.

Transparent Communication: Keeping owner-clients informed about tenant-related issues and providing accurate monthly statements builds trust.

Property Well-being: Brokers and property owners share responsibility for maintaining safe and habitable rental properties.

Security Deposit Handling: Deducting only permissible costs from security deposits and educating owner-clients about normal wear and tear avoids disputes.

Record Retention and Transparency: Brokers must retain property management agreements and leases, providing transparency to owner-clients upon request.

Following these guidelines empowers brokers to represent owner-clients effectively, engage with tenants proactively, and minimize the risk of investigations. Ultimately, adhering to these principles cultivates a harmonious environment benefiting all parties involved.


General Help Topics

Submit a help ticket. Even if you just want confirmation or a second opinion, just mention what it’s about and we’ll try to get you taken care of. We designed this system so we can have our leadership team take a good look at important issues more often. We don’t just want you to be happy, we want you to get great results. We needed you to be able to effeciently get an experienced eye on major decisions if you are having doubts. Thanks!

Service animals are protected under the Service Animals & the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). According to this act, the

“only species of service animal recognized under Title II and Title III of the ADA are dogs and miniature horses.”

Not directly no. However most of our account managers are licensed and several have phenomenal experience and ideas to offer to real estate buyers and sellers. They affiliate with a sales brokerage to provide those services, with our support. Find more details here.

Our property managers are human of course so it can happen. We have a great system that involves a lot of people at critical times, and we have amazing staff so it’s less of a problem than with most companies.

The bigger issue is that if an account manager is constantly micro-managed they’ll almost completely freeze up, leave all major decisions to you, and if you aren’t espousing more effective strategies than our top management sets forth for them, then you will get very subpar results. Here’s more on the topic but the most important point to keep in mind is that if we don’t drive the strategy, we of course cannot take responsibility for the results and they will become very passive at times, waiting to be dictated to. For better or worse.

We often sync up with our owner and use the same vendor consistently as well, and we can make management magic when that happens. When it doesn’t, those accounts almost always underperform.

https://movezen360.com/rental-property-manager-show-favoritism/

When an industry drastically changes it would be an obvious mistake if the company didn’t change as well. We embarked on an evolutionary process in 2021, and the toughest and riskiest phase is largely complete. We are now a modern company, fundamentally designed to thrive in a post-COVID rental housing world. We are dynamic and responsive but focused. Above all, we’ve laid the groundwork to separate and simplify staff knowledge and duties significantly by adding two new divisions, operations, and technical support.


Move Out, Property Turnover Questions FAQ

Coming off COVID our inspection process was pretty far behind due to a combination of staffing problems, a problems workload that had more than doubled, and access excuses for both our staff and residents. It was a challenge but we responded by rolling out a full featured operations division and have been moving rapidly to get caught back up across the board.

We do inspections before renewing leases, so if we do not include a recent link with our move out estimate, we will be sending that soon. You will receive recent photos before the renewal deadline has arrived.

Some residents these days are particularly difficult about allowing us access (a trend rather than a sign of a problem) so we might not have a lot of time, but we can extend the deadline if need be. That would require us to “go month to month” with the resident which we really prefer to avoid.

The risks that they will move rise dramatically the minute you allow that to happen, so for good residents it’s a last resort.

Starting spring of 2024 we’ll be starting our renewal process a full 4 months! before they can move out, so you should have the latest photos with plenty of time to digest them, consistently.

We also include the past inspection if we have one, and it was the same resident.

If your resident has been in the home for 4+ years they are already pushing the end of generally accepted “carpet lifespan” and have well eclipsed the life of paint. In general we exect to find a fair amount of “normal wear and tear” that we would not be able to charge for, per the state. See other questions regarding how we use GAAP global accounting standards to calculate straight line depreciation of home materials according to generally accepted lifespan lengths, mostly derived from the IRS itself.

For pretty much every move out we have some owner costs. Usually “the basics” which is unit clean, carpet clean, touch up paint, and yard spruce up. All of which fall firmly under “normal wear and tear” and are only ever billed if they meet an “extraordinary remediation needed” which is a term derived from the state, and we include potential examples in the security deposit refund section of the FAQ.

Due to the nature of straight line depreciation our ability to charge residents declines with time, on a clear trend line. So we will charge a lot more if they move after one year, then we would if they move after 4. If they move after 2 it’s essentially in the middle.

Let’s check! We do rental estimates all day every day so we can give you a great opinion quickly. We’ve already begun this process and will be in touch with that estimate soon as well, if it was not included in your move out estimate.

Prior to COVID a great rule of thumb was simply to raise the rent 10-15% and reduce $50 about every 10 days.

During COVID that was simply too generic to work well in such an unreal environment. However as we write this in early 2024 that model is starting to show real promise again.

It is worth taking a look at active listings to make sure there aren’t major variations for some reason, but for 95% of our re-listings that will be the recommended course. It removes personal bias and market fluctuations. Rents have been mostly flat in our markets for 2 years now so a 10% increase is significant and unlikely in fact.

If we can get it we will, but if not we should entice potential renters and keep traffic flowing by taking advantage of all of the email notifications that go out when we reduce the price, even if it’s just $15 which is a great strategy on homes renting under $1000.

In general you should be reducing about 2-3% every 10 days unless we see a strong market trend ahead.

We see major increases in traffic and therefore rates in late spring and fall, so we often hold off on reductions if those periods are approaching. It’s not an easy decision as the vacancy cost is usually pushing $100 a day, and should be reserved for specific situations that we can advise on.

Yes.


1. Determine a likely rental rate if you re-list. We will provide an estimate, but it’s likely 5-10% above the current rate if your resident has been in place for a few years. Unfortunately, in a lot of markets we have seen rates decline 5-10% from the peaks, and owners rarely take that news well. It doesn’t change the fact that in most of our markets, rents have without question declined, and without question, if we want to fill them we will need to put the burning desire not to backtrack on rates out of our minds.

2.  Determine the estimated cost of turning over the rental to put it back on the market.  As with prices, it is often shocking these days for owners who have to come to terms with the cost of repair services.  This is also very well documented and not something that should ever warrant debate (it does though).  It’s highly unlikely you will turn over a premier move-out for under $1000 these days.  We outline straight-line depreciation, normal wear and tear, and state laws regarding reasonable charges in depth in other questions.  A major turnover these days runs well over $3000, and the sqft of your home plays a massive role in this issue.  The charges we usually deal with our highly specific to the size of the home.  Despite these rising costs we provide a copy of your cash flow statement, and 90% of them will show figures that are 50-75% nationally accepted averages when comparing repair costs to income earned or the “repair to income ratio”. As well as the “operating expense to income ratio”  that includes most other charges associated with managing a real estate investment.

3. Determine if the math makes sense.  Look over your long-term cash flow to get an overall perspective of the investment’s performance, and if it makes sense to continue in an environment that is likely to produce 10-20% lower returns from this point forward (generally accepted among pros).

Then consider the stress and investment required to turn over the home now.  You will want to look at the turnover outlay required up front (average $3000), versus what it will deliver.  In most of our markets, the average rent is $1600, and operating costs are considered to run about 50-75% of that.  We usually perform much closer to the pre-COVID standard of 30% which is massive outperformance. However always use conservative estimates, so we’ll assume 50%.  Our average lease is also 24 months so this investment decision will look a bit like this.

1600 (or your estimated rate) X 24  =  $38k X 50% for “operating expenses” = $20K net income.  For this example, a $4000 investment today on average will easily net you $20k net income over the coming two years.  That alone is a huge cash-on-cash return (the real estate investing holy grail in our opinion), and we usually far exceed it.  That also usually allows you to get exceptionally beneficial tax treatment, retain that sub-5 % mortgage rate in an inflationary world, and enjoy the leverage of using very little of your own cash for the luxury of having someone pay off your major asset.

For someone with the right mentality, it’s hard to go wrong in rentals.  For those without it, it’s hard to go right.

Below you will find more technical details on the re-rental process.

For nearly two decades we had a set re-list policy.  We would put the home back on the market for 10-15% more than what we were currently getting depending on the ease of renting last time, and the current overall trend we’re seeing.  We also consider upcoming seasonal shifts.  During COVID this strategy was not effective given the mind-boggling swings we would see, but it is now the best approach for 90% of listings.  To be sure, we will do an active market analysis, but that is typically the recommendation these days.  This also works if rents have fallen in your area, we would just need to pick up the pace if we suspected that before listing, and find that we are getting little interest afterward.  Stale homes do have a stigma, systematically reduced homes listed with a leading reputable company do not.

Rents have been flat for nearly 2 years in most of our markets, so we would most likely be overpriced at this point, and we then settle into a rhythm of extremely effective, highly consistent price reductions.

We will provide an estimate based on active nearby listings, and the traffic / interest they are receiving.  We also consider upcoming seasonal trends. If rates are soon to fall we will certainly be more aggressive on starting rental rates.  If we see a strong season ahead as we do in late spring and fall, we might be less likely to stick to our normal process of consistent small price reductions.  Those reductions generate thousands of email notifications to nearly every person who’s ever shown interest in that property.  If they still have interest and receive two notices in 20 days that the price has been reduced, it tends to engender a sense of urgency and fear of loss.  We often reduce $50 and receive dozens of calls after being on the market for 2 weeks.  It’s a powerful method that we have used to great effect for nearly 2 decades, except during the COVID saga.  Even a $15 reduction is powerful for homes under $1000 a month.

It has an equally powerful benefit in that it eliminates our bias, your bias, and the tendency to prioritize a higher rate over the daily cost of vacancy which pushes $100 a day on average now. When we let a home sit on the market overpriced and don’t reduce, we’re waiting for a stronger market to arrive.  Quality tenants do not overpay, and they move fast when they see a value. The rental market is huge and fluid except in very rural areas. If a home is priced properly, it will always rent in under 30 days if managed well.  If managed well and it is not renting, there are basically two possible causes and nothing else.  1.  It’s in bad condition.  2.  It’s overpriced. Both are out of our hands unless you approve common-sense repairs.

Some owners are willing to pay $100 a day to avoid reducing $100 a month, in effect betting big on the bird in the bush, rather than the one in the hand and that’s your right.  If we don’t drive the strategy, we don’t take responsibility for the results.  Prices should get consistently reduced in most cases and if they are not, you are breaking with our advice and will need to accept your results.

First, always remember that algorithms, as most rate estimates are, are always backward looking. They are based off the past few months of sales / rentals. Especially in the rental market that can be a major issue as things change quickly, and often. The market is booming in June for example, but often very slow in July. Early December is busy, then things screech to a halt. Prices based off the prior 2 months are usually about 10% too high once a seasonal shift sets in.

Our method is to view Zillow and Realtor.com maps to find nearby homes similar in size, condition, and yard / lot features. We make experienced adjustments from there and also cross reference with our own extensive internal rental data to nail down an algorithm like price. From there we make two major adjustments depending on what time of year we’ll be listing the home. One is for general seasonal swings, and one is for the response the comparison homes seem to be receiving. If they’re not getting inquires, they are unlikely to rent at those rates, unless the season shifts higher as we see in the spring and late fall.

https://www.zillow.com/rental-manager/price-my-rental/

https://rental.turbotenant.com/rent-estimate-report

https://www.rentometer.com/

There’s a good chance we aren’t even sure yet if they are moving. Our deadline to renew is 60 days before the move out date in most cases. Consult your actual lease which is shared to your owner portal, under documents. While rare, if you are up for it we might extend after the deadline but it’s not a great sign of the upcoming relationship.

Otherwise, the lease should prevail. Residents can overstay, but that’s also rare. In most cases, residents are out on their final day, not before or after.

We rarely do month-to-month leases, but if we hit delays for some reason we might use that as a bridge until we can get the lease renewed for a term that we choose.

If you want help with the investment concepts noted in the estimate, that might be outside your managers wheelhouse, but they can seek advice. This document is very helpful. https://www.buildium.com/blog/property-management-kpis-to-track/

Contact your account manager if you have concerns about the opinions it noted, or the numbers reflected.

We would need to set a threshold required amount, that we would nail down after move out. If that is acceptable we’ll approve the estimates and list the home.

If not, we will need to part ways. We can handle rental quality repairs for any deposit charges, or we can pass them on to you directly which is usually best in these situations.

We have experienced housing service experts you can chat with. Meet them here.

No problem! If your resident is moving out and you want to move on to any other goals we support you and there will not be additional charges. Just let us know that we won’t be re-renting and we’ll run the offboard procedure after the final move out.

We don’t directly handle sales, but we have many licensed brokers here who do. They register their license with another sales brokerage, and provide full service sales and similar needs through that broker.

So even if they’re managing your home, any sales activity is separate of MoveZen. We are not affiliated with sales activity at all, other than to support our partners in building the leading local Housing-Verse filled with helpful housing service offerings.

Anything rental or investment focused is handled by MoveZen, and anything sales related is handled via their sales brokerage, and they will make that clear very early on by covering the following document. While we require them to provide this transparency focused document, it again is in the context of their sales brokerage, not MoveZen.

MoveZen does not sell homes though we likely would receive a referal bonus from the sales brokerage.

Meet Our Licensed Brokers & Agents : https://movezen360.com/licensed-movezen-real-estate-brokers-provisional-brokers/

Our licensed agents may be willing to provide consulting, contract, and other services for free or a small charge, and we can help them process those payments.

https://www.ncrec.gov/Brochures/WWREABrochure.pdf

Because our lease requires 60 days’ notice before the move-out date, we have to start this process a full 120 days before the lease is up.

In those first 60 days we need to line up a home visit (not always easy), document condition and expected rough turnover costs, and nail down a fair market rental rate so that we both know what a good offer to the resident will be, but also our marketing and income outlook should they not choose to renew. Of course, a bad marketing outlook should warrant a more conservative approach to raising the rent (it’s probably a bad idea in that case unless far below market).

Often owners also need to weigh the decision whether to re-rent, sell, or move back in and that takes time also.

Once a move-out is confirmed, your next steps will determine our strategy. If you are putting it back on the market we will execute rental quality repairs at the best possible value so long as it allows us to secure a quality renter at a quality price.

If however you are selling or moving back in it’s highly unlikely you will want us to complete rental-quality repairs. That typically means 20-40% below normal costs that an occupied homeowner might pay. Of course, nothing in life is free, and those vendors are well-trained to cut exactly the right corners to save costs without sacrificing too much desirability. To be clear though they do cut a lot of corners to save those large sums.

We can also set you up with our vendors to handle your repairs as you prefer, except sometimes during peak periods like mid-summer, etc.

If you do not want us to complete the repairs we will determine a fair price based on our experience or possibly quotes received, notify the resident, and then pass the funds to you. Note, while it legally makes no difference, being unable to provide actual receipts should a resident contest their refund in court complicates the process and may lead to downward adjustments if the courts don’t agree with our opinions. If you have receipts, especially sales quality costs, that should not pose a problem so have those vendors invoice you and provide them to us as a standard course of action if things seem to be contentious with the resident. It’ll help us to be better prepared. If not, keep them on your own, just in case.

Because residents usually wait until the last minute, we rarely inspect until the day after a lease ends. In busy periods, holiday weeks, and on weekends that may not always occur, but we’re never far behind.

It’s imperative that someone does a thorough documentation of move-out condition before an army of vendors and potential residents shuffling through the home, so you will want to keep us updated on your plans if you intend to get quick access for yourself or vendors. If you must, you will need to do a decent inspection and preserve photo proof of all charges (except smells, etc which require other steps) before commencing heavy work.

As of the winter of 2024, our turnover process is still relatively informal. That method worked quite well until recently, and we’re leading the charge to innovate ways to improve. We just rolled out a new pre-move-out report that has begun testing. It amounts to estimating the expected turnover cost before the resident is out of the home, so not a trivial pursuit, and we’re limited on how many people can currently handle the process. With testing, we’ll improve, standardize, and systematize the process and train a much larger swath of staff. At that time it’ll become standard procedure.

For now, we are mostly testing on move-outs with residents who have been in place for 3+ years, and owners who are taking over their homes after years on the market. Two major problems since COVID. Our cash flow statements are usually so exceptional many wouldn’t believe the results we post, yet those owners still often leave us extremely unhappy. That’s a failure of communication, not results and we’re fixing it by outlining long-term performance first.

Until we can consistently provide this service you can work with your account manager now (they are being trained slowly) to informally follow the same basic outline.

Inspect the home and assess the condition
Estimate the cost of turning over the home to get in rent-ready condition
Estimate rental rate for the upcoming term
Forecast cash flow for the coming 24 months which is the average (obviously not guaranteed) length of lease with our company these days
Cash flow is the amount left over after operating expenses are paid, or net operating income.

Typically this is calculated separately from any loans, taxes, and major investments like a new roof. This is a crucial point though. Even if you have exceptional operational performance as most of our owners do, that does not mean you should continue as a rental investor. If for example, your cash flow after mortgage, taxes, and CapEx costs or expected costs is negative, then you will need outside funds to continue owning the home. Even breaking even in a potentially inflationary environment is a recipe for disaster unless you have strong outside funding. The trap many landlords fall into when funds get tight is that they cut corners on the condition of the home, and then they cut corners on the condition of the resident because high-quality residents do not accept sub-par homes these days. Then you cut corners on keeping the resident who’s in possession of your crucial asset happy, and they start to lash out and generally make things as difficult as possible. Then they trash the place and the landlord is left with a disaster that’ll require well over $10k to rectify for rent or sale. That often leads to a fire sale in a strong market, and foreclosure when it isn’t. Managing rental homes with insufficient funds is almost sure to end in disaster in our experience, so mind your cash flow.

The calculations are relatively simple. You take the 24-month average gross income, deduct the expected operating costs during that time (provided from history plus 15% for inflation), and then deduct all other costs. Most will be flat estimates such as 5% vacancy, but something like a roof replacement requires money on the spot, so you may need to factor in outside funding costs like credit card or vendor interest.

Accounting for CapEx is complex and outside the scope of this document. Just know a roof replacement likely runs 20K on average these days. So those costs are reflected over the life of the rental, or when sold. The important point is that you can weather them because eventually, you’ll likely have one big one. In the past that wasn’t a huge issue as many landlords simply refinanced with cash out, but that is rarely a viable strategy now with even HELOC rates pushing 12% recently. A painful but likely necessary cost for many investors, and even that added cost still doesn’t ensure that the endeavor won’t be quite profitable.

If you’ve accounted for all those costs and you have a positive cash flow or the ability to weather a “worst case” scenario then the rental investing landscape should get more and more friendly to those who show a proven ability to execute winning, nuanced strategies like those MoveZen outlines for our staff and managers.


Security Deposit, Normal Wear & Tear, Depreciation NC Rental Standards FAQ

As noted in the NCREC publication ‘Questions & Answers on: TENANT SECURITY DEPOSITS,’ Within 30 days after the termination of your tenancy, the landlord or agent must send you
either a full refund of your deposit or a written itemized accounting of any deductions along with any remaining refund amount.

Where the full amount of damage cannot be determined within 30 days, the landlord or agent must send you a written interim accounting of deductions claimed, followed by a final accounting no later than 60 days following the end of the tenancy.

So, it is important to give your landlord or agent a full forwarding address. If you cannot be located, the landlord or agent must hold any refund due for at least six months in their trust account.

If the landlord or agent fails to refund your deposit or make the required accounting, you can sue for recovery of the deposit and reasonable attorney fees. The failure to make the accounting as required under the Act is a forfeiture of the landlord’s right to retain any portion of the deposit.

See state provided documents and guidance:

https://www.ncrec.gov/Brochures/TenantBrochure.pdf

https://www.ncleg.net/EnactedLegislation/Statutes/HTML/ByArticle/Chapter_42/Article_6.html

As noted in NC G.S. § 42-51, Security deposits for residential dwelling units shall be permitted only for the following:

(1) The tenant’s possible nonpayment of rent and costs for water or sewer services provided pursuant to G.S. 62-110(g) and electric service pursuant to G.S. 62-110(h).

(2) Damage to the premises, including damage to or destruction of smoke alarms or carbon monoxide alarms.

(3) Damages as the result of the nonfulfillment of the rental period, except where the tenant terminated the rental agreement under G.S. 42-45, G.S. 42-45.1, or because the tenant was forced to leave the property because of the landlord’s violation of Article 2A of Chapter 42 of the General Statutes or was constructively evicted by the landlord’s violation of G.S. 42-42(a).

(4) Any unpaid bills that become a lien against the demised property due to the tenant’s occupancy.

(5) The costs of re-renting the premises after breach by the tenant, including any reasonable fees or commissions paid by the landlord to a licensed real estate broker to re-rent the premises.

(6) The costs of removal and storage of the tenant’s property after a summary ejectment proceeding.

(7) Court costs.

(8) Any fee permitted by G.S. 42-46.

See state provided documents and guidance: https://www.ncleg.net/EnactedLegislation/Statutes/HTML/ByArticle/Chapter_42/Article_6.html

As noted in the North Carolina Real Estate Manual, common examples of “Damage Due to Ordinary Wear and Tear” includes:
Worn or dirty carpeting
Faded or cracked paint
Dirty windows
Dirty walls
Frayed or broken curtain/blind strings
Leaking faucets or toilets
Small nail holes in walls (from hanging pictures)
Worn lavatory basin
Burned-out range heating elements

See state or federal provided documents and guidance: https://www.hud.gov/sites/documents/HSG-06-01GAPP5GUID.PDF

As noted in the North Carolina Real Estate Manual, common examples of “Damage Not Due to Ordinary Wear and Tear” includes:
Crayon marks on walls
Large holes in walls
Broken windows
Burned spots or stains on carpeting
Bizarre or unauthorized paint colors
Broken countertops
Filthy appliances requiring extraordinary cleaning
Exceptionally filthy premises (in general) requiring extraordinary cleaning
*note that this is not a full list of damage beyond normal wear and tear!

See official 3rd party provided documents and guidance: https://www.hud.gov/sites/documents/HSG-06-01GAPP5GUID.PDF

MoveZen Property Management will not be able to finalize a deposit if an owner attempts to charge a tenant for items that are not permitted. In this case, we would send the deposit to the owner for direct finalization. We would notify the tenant of the full owner contact information and that we have transferred the deposit to the owner, and that the disposition of the deposit is between the landlord and tenant at this point.

ncrec pitfalls in property management

No. Many major items have a predictable life span. Carpet has a reasonable life expectancy of 5 years. If the carpet was new at the time of move in and the tenant occupied the property for less than the expected lifespan, only a prorated amount can be charged back to the tenant for replacement, if the damage caused by the tenant was beyond normal wear and tear. The charge would be prorated based on loss of life using the straight line method of depreciation.

https://www.ncrec.gov/Brochures/Print/TenantPrint.pdf

No. Many major items have a predictable life span. Paint has a reasonable life expectancy of 3 years. If the paint was new at the time of move in and the tenant occupied the property for less than the expected lifespan, only a prorated amount can be charged back to the tenant for repainting, if the damage caused by the tenant was beyond normal wear and tear. The charge would be prorated based on loss of life using the straight line method of depreciation.

https://www.ncrec.gov/Brochures/Print/TenantPrint.pdf

As a rental property owner, you should expect at a minimum to always be prepared to pay for cleaning the property, cleaning the carpets, touch up paint for the interior of the property, and replace batteries for smoke and CO detectors. Also be prepared to repair any broken/non-functioning items! These items are not a tenant responsibility in the vast majority of cases, and it is considered a landlords cost of doing business!

The life expectancy for appliances that MoveZen Property Management utilizes are as follows:
Garbage Disposal – 10 years
Range or Stove – 13 years
Refrigerator – 13 years
Washer & Dryer – 10 years
HVAC – 15 years
Water Heater – 10 years
Paint – 3 years
Carpeting – 5 years
Linoleum – 5 years
Smoke & CO Detectors – 7 years

H&R Block – Life Expectancy of 7 Major Appliances

With longer tenancies, the turnover expenses are usually higher. At the minimum, you should expect to fully repaint the interior, replace carpeting, clean the unit, and replace batteries for smoke and CO detectors. Also be prepared to repair any non-functioning items. Please keep in mind that other items in the property, such as appliances, may be nearing the end of their lifespan as well.

MoveZen Property Management would review the photos taken prior to the move in date, move in inspection form completed by the tenant at the time of their move in, and the move out inspection photos. Any documented pre-existing damage would not be charged to the security deposit at move out. We highly encourage all tenants to completely fill out their move in inspection form and return it to us within 10 days of their move in date for us to keep on file!

MoveZen Property Management utilizes the Straight Line Method of depreciation. This method lets you deduct the same amount of depreciation each year over the useful life of the property.

https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p946.pdf

No. Damage due to normal wear and tear cannot be charged to the tenant. A property cleaning cannot be charged to a tenant unless the property or appliances are excessively filthy requiring extraordinary measures to repair. A carpet cleaning cannot be charged to a tenant unless the carpet is damaged beyond normal wear and tear, such as spill stains. These items fall under a landlord responsibility and are considered the cost of doing business. The only damages that can be charged back to the tenant are damages beyond normal wear and tear to items that have not exceeded their lifespan.

https://www.ncrec.gov/Brochures/Print/TenantPrint.pdf

If an item can be reasonably repaired (ex. spill staining on carpeting was repaired with a carpet cleaning and did not require a full carpet replacement), the tenant would be charged the amount of the repair.

Animal related damages are deducted from the security deposit. Pet fees are non-refundable and are not required to be used toward pet related damages. While a fee cannot be charged for an assistance animal, any property damage is deductible from the security deposit. Ironically pet deposits can only be charged for provable pet damage. That’s why we always take a larger generic security deposit if needed instead.

https://www.ncrec.gov/Brochures/Print/TenantPrint.pdf

If the charges to the tenant’s security deposit exceed the amount of the security deposit, we will notify the tenant that they have 30 days to remit the balance to us directly. If the balance is not remitted to us after 30 days, we would then send the account to collections. We utilize Hunter Warfield as the collections agency. The collections agency will take efforts to recover the balance from the tenant. The collections agency may negotiate with the tenant to lower the balance to secure payment. If the collections agency is able to recover any balance from the tenant, the collections agency will retain 40-50% of any balance collected as their fee.

While turnover expenses are likely to be higher after a longer tenancy, there are steps that can be taken to try to spread the cost burden out when possible. We will identify routine maintenance items that we recommend being completed at every annual inspection, such as pressure washing and gutter cleaning, that we highly recommend being completed before a turnover starts.

Also, consider periodically updating items at the property while the tenants are occupying, such as replacing dated appliances, window blinds, etc. While repainting a property and replacing the flooring is recommended to occur when a tenant vacates, various other items can be completed while the tenant is occupying over time!

The tenants would also likely appreciate the routine/preventative maintenance and small updates during their lease term, and happier residents tend to treat the properties much better than unhappy tenants would!

There are many benefits to keeping phenomenal tenants in place!

It is always a risk to place a new tenant in a property in hopes to achieve a much higher rental rate, as we cannot guarantee that we will achieve that higher rate and cannot guarantee the new tenant will be as phenomenal as the last.

When you renew a quality tenant, you will not need to worry about expenses that inevitably come with vacancy such as loss of rent during a vacant period, utility reactivations/costs during vacancy, maintenance/upkeep of the property during vacancy, risks that come with vacant properties (such as urgent maintenance that cannot be spotted immediately as the property is not occupied, weather related risks, etc.), and the inevitable turnover expenses on an annual basis.

While the turnover expenses are likely to be higher for a long-term tenancy, the consistent returns from keeping great tenants in place long term usually outweigh the higher turnover cost when the tenant decides to eventually vacate.

If by all accounts the tenant was a great one and the only damage left was very small, we’d highly recommend against charging the item against the tenant’s security deposit. If there was no other damage apart from this small item, the tenant took great care of the home and this item was likely an oversight, which is common during the commotion of a move. This tenant may be likely to refer the property to a great friend or colleague in the future if they feel they were treated fairly throughout the entire process, which will further help with filling your property sooner with another potentially great tenant!

Great question! After the move out inspection is conducted, we would then need time to thoroughly review any pre-move in photographs, the tenant’s move in inspection form, as well as the details from the move out inspection. We will then secure a vendor to quote repairing any tenant caused damage beyond normal wear and tear, unless the property owner will be securing quotes/repairing the items themselves. After our review and retrieval of the estimates, a broker in charge will finalize any deposit charges (if applicable) and then we will discuss those amounts with the property owner. This process does take a bit of time when there are damages present beyond normal wear and tear! Rest assured we will work to complete this process as quickly as possible!

Unfortunately not. While we do see some funds recovered through the collections process, it is not a guarantee that any funds outside of the security deposit will be able to be recovered. The collections agency will diligently work to recover the funds and if they are successful, they will withhold their fee, and remit the remainder of anything collected to MoveZen Property Management.

Tenants can only be charged for damage beyond normal wear and tear. Ordinarily, costs for routine cleaning and maintenance (painting, carpet cleaning, etc) may not be deducted from the security deposit. However, if the tenant leaves the property so filthy that unusual or extraordinary measures are necessary to clean or restore the premises, the costs of such cleaning may be deducted from the security deposit. Routine cleaning is considered the landlords cost of doing business!

https://www.ncrec.gov/Brochures/Print/TenantPrint.pdf

In some cases, yes. Hunter Warfield, the collections agency we utilize, will determine whether or not they feel the case is fit for legal action. If they believe the case is fit for legal action, MoveZen Property Management will receive a notice and would be required to either approve or deny a suit authorization. MoveZen will defer to the property owners judgment on whether or not they would like to proceed with a suit, as there are costs associated that would be the property owners responsibility. If the property owner approves a suit, MoveZen would notify Hunter Warfield. Please note that while the suit would be between the property owner and the tenants, Hunter Warfield will only communicate with MoveZen directly.

https://web.hunterwarfield.com/cn/ahiew/LegalAction

https://web.hunterwarfield.com/cn/ahiew/LegalCosts

In the first photo, you will see an oven that would constitute excessive dirtiness requiring extraordinary measures to clean. In the second photo, you will see an oven needs to be cleaned, but is not excessively dirty requiring extraordinary measures to clean.

https://www.ncrec.gov/Brochures/Print/TenantPrint.pdf

After the suit is approved, Hunter Warfield will make sure their second internal set of criteria are met before they send it off to their legal desk. If approved, they will send an affidavit to sign. Once signed and returned, they will secure a court date. The case will be between the property owner and the tenant, but Hunter Warfield will only communicate with MoveZen. Court costs would need to be paid by the property owner up front. The court case will be assigned to an attorney in the area where the court case will take place. If the tenant would like to settle the case, they would need to speak with Hunter Warfield or the attorney assigned. MoveZen can never collect funds from any tenant submitted to collections, and MoveZen is required to direct the tenant to the collections agency (or the attorney if in the legal process). Hunter Warfield will charge 50% commission on any amount recovered by the tenant when the collections is in the legal process. Please see the attached links from Hunter Warfield with additonal information!

https://web.hunterwarfield.com/cn/ahiew/LegalAction

https://web.hunterwarfield.com/cn/ahiew/LegalCosts

State statutes require that functional detectors must at the minimum have batteries replaced before a tenancy begins. If a detector is non-functional, it must be repaired or replaced. If a tenant is occupying the property, repairs to/replacements of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors MUST be completed quickly by law.

https://www.ncleg.net/EnactedLegislation/Statutes/HTML/ByArticle/Chapter_42/Article_5.html

https://www.ncleg.gov/EnactedLegislation/Statutes/PDF/ByArticle/Chapter_42A/Article_5.pdf

If you overstep on deposit charges by charging a tenant for items that are unpermitted or inflating costs to repair items that are permitted, you may have a judgment entered against you if the tenant pursues the matter in court. This could also be the case if your property manager finalizes the deposit on your behalf.

This may also happen if the deposit accounting is not timely provided to the tenant. Remember that state statute requires that a tenant be notified of an interim accounting no later than 30 days from the move out date, and a final accounting must be sent no later than 60 days from the move out date. We have watched in court as an owner did not adhere to these guidelines — the owner was given a court order to either pay the tenant a full deposit refund on the spot or have a judgment issued against the owner directly.

Remember that if your property manager goes to court to represent you, understand that your property manager is not guaranteed to win the case, and if they do not, that would mean a court order would be issued against you. If the amount is paid the same day it is issued, you can avoid the judgment altogether, but it can be a large amount, and we would not seek prior owner approval to pay this amount. If you represent yourself or have an attorney represent you, you could appeal with an attorney if you prefer.

While there are some gray areas with deposit charges, remember that tenants are not responsible for normal wear and tear and charges must be reasonable and justified for damage beyond normal wear and tear.

https://www.ncleg.net/EnactedLegislation/Statutes/HTML/ByArticle/Chapter_42/Article_6.html

https://www.ncrec.gov/Brochures/Print/TenantPrint.pdf

https://kdvr.com/news/ag-four-star-realty-to-pay-1m-for-withholding-security-deposits/amp/



NC Accounting, Income, Expense, Statement Questions

Trust monies are a critical component of our responsibilities as property managers. These are funds entrusted to us by our clients, property owners, and tenants that must be managed with the utmost care, integrity, and adherence to legal and ethical guidelines. These funds include security deposits, rental payments, maintenance reserves, and other monetary transactions related to the properties we manage.

Key Responsibilities:

Safekeeping: Trust monies must be kept separate from the company’s operational funds in designated trust accounts. This separation is crucial to prevent commingling and ensure accurate accounting.

Accurate Accounting: Detailed records must be maintained for each transaction involving trust monies. Proper documentation, receipts, and ledgers are essential to demonstrate transparency and accountability.

Timely Disbursements: Trust monies should be disbursed according to legal requirements and lease agreements. For instance, security deposits need to be returned within the stipulated timeframe and in compliance with local laws.

Interest: In some jurisdictions, interest earned on security deposits might need to be remitted to the tenant. Understanding and adhering to these regulations is essential.

 Any mismanagement or breach of trust can lead to legal consequences, damage our reputation, and harm relationships.

It is crucial to stay informed about any changes in legislation or industry standards that affect the handling of trust monies. Regular updates and refresher training sessions will be provided to keep our team well-informed and compliant.

When a company holds trust monies, it is typically required to establish separate trust accounts to ensure the proper segregation and management of these funds. The number of accounts required can vary based on factors such as the jurisdiction’s regulations and the types of trust monies being managed. In general, two main types of trust accounts are commonly used: Client Trust Account and Interest-Bearing Trust Account.These accounts ensure transparency, accountability, and legal compliance in the handling of funds entrusted to the company’s care.

Significance of proper account designation and the insurance coverage it provides:

Insured Deposits: Properly designating an account as a trust or escrow account ensures that all deposits within the account are fully insured by either the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) or the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA). This insurance covers up to $250,000 per individual for whom the funds are held.

Account Holder vs. Beneficiary: Even though the account is registered under the broker or company’s name, the FDIC/NCUA recognizes the trust or escrow designation. This means that all funds in the account are considered as belonging to beneficiaries and are fully insured, provided that no individual’s interest in the account surpasses the $250,000 cap.

When Must Trust Monies be Deposited in the Trust Account:

Deposit Timeframe: As per the opening paragraph of Rule A.0116, monies that belong to others must be deposited into a trust account “no later than three banking days following the broker’s receipt of such monies,” unless exceptions apply.

Exceptions (Rule A.0116(b)):

For provisional brokers, all monies received must be promptly delivered to their BIC (Broker-in-Charge) upon receipt.
Non-resident commercial brokers must deliver received monies to the North Carolina affiliated/supervising broker, who will deposit them in the resident broker’s trust account.
Checks or negotiable instruments for earnest money and tenant security deposits, payable to the broker/company, can be safeguarded by a broker during contract/lease negotiations.

Deposit Trigger for Negotiable Instruments:

If the deposit is in the form of a check or negotiable instrument, it can be held during contract/lease negotiations.
However, it must be deposited into a trust account within three banking days after the offer to purchase or lease agreement is accepted.
If the deposit is in cash, it must be deposited within three banking days after receipt, even if no contract has been signed.

Acceptance and Handling of Checks in Real Estate Transactions:

Acceptance of Checks:

Generally, brokers should not accept checks payable to someone other than the broker/company.

Two exceptions are allowed under Rule A.0116(b)(4):

Checks payable to an owner for due diligence fee or option fee.
Checks payable to a third-party escrow agent in a sales transaction.

Handling of Accepted Checks:

Due diligence fee checks and checks to third-party escrow agents can be held and safeguarded by brokers during negotiations.
These checks must be delivered to the named payees or returned to the buyer, as directed, within three business days of contract formation.

Earnest Money Deposit Handling:

Non-cash tenant security deposits and earnest money deposits can be held and safeguarded until contract formation.
Earnest money deposits must be deposited into a brokerage trust account within three banking days of contract formation.

Examples Clarifying Procedures:

If a buyer provides two checks (one to the owner and one to the listing company) for due diligence fee and earnest money deposit, the buyer’s agent can accept and hold them. The broker must safeguard these checks for eventual delivery to the payees upon contract formation.

Cash deposits should be converted into money orders for handling.
Checks should be returned to the buyer if requested while in possession.

For a listing company that receives an offer with due diligence fee and earnest money deposit checks, the earnest money check can be deposited immediately unless instructed otherwise. The three-day deposit clock starts ticking from the contract formation date.

Even if the contract states a later earnest money payment date, the clock is not affected because the check is already in possession.

When to Disburse Monies from the Trust Account

A broker, holding an earnest money deposit in the trust account, can only transfer it to the settlement agent within ten (10) days prior to the settlement date.
This rule ensures that the funds are appropriately timed for the transaction’s final stages.
Disbursement Restrictions:
The broker is strictly prohibited from disbursing the earnest money deposit before settlement, except for the purpose of transferring it to the settlement agent.
No other disbursements can be made from the earnest money deposit account without the written consent of all parties involved.

How to Handle Disputed Funds

If parties disagree about who is entitled to the earnest money deposit, the broker cannot use their own judgment to release the deposit.
Historically, brokers had two options in such disputes:

Holding the money in the trust account until the parties reach a written agreement.
Waiting for a court order from a competent jurisdiction to release the money.

Alternative Option (Since 2005):

Rule A.0116(d) introduced another alternative.
Brokers can deposit disputed funds with the appropriate Clerk of Superior Court as per G.S. 93A-12.
This statute allows brokers to pay disputed funds, except disputed residential tenant security deposits, to the Clerk of Superior Court of the property’s county.
Brokers must provide the parties with a written notice at least ninety days before paying the funds to the Clerk of Court.
If neither party initiates legal proceedings within one year, the Clerk of Court will escheat the funds to the State Treasurer.
The notice letter must be personally delivered or sent via first-class mail to each party.

Abandonment of Dispute:

Rule A.0116(d) also acknowledges that a party can “abandon” the dispute.
If one party appears to have abandoned their claim, the broker may disburse the money according to the written agreement, but efforts must be made to notify the absent party before disbursement.

Rule A.0116(d) and Contract Agreements:

The term “according to the written agreement” in the rule refers to the parties’ contract.
In residential sale transactions, the standard Offer to Purchase and Contract form often dictates that the earnest money deposit should go to the party specified in the contract, such as the buyer if they timely deliver notice of termination.

Residential Tenant Security Deposits:

The disputed funds rule and procedure do not apply to residential tenant security deposits.
State law requires landlords to provide an interim accounting and disburse tenant security deposits within 30 days after the termination of the tenancy (45 days for vacation rentals).
Residential tenant security deposits are governed by state law and must be disbursed according to these regulations within the specified time frame.

Commercial Tenant Security Deposits:

The disputed funds rule and procedure apply to commercial tenant security deposits.
Unlike residential deposits, there are no state laws governing commercial tenant security deposits.
Disposition depends on lease terms, and in case of disputes between a commercial lessor and tenant, brokers holding the deposit must follow the disputed funds rule or the G.S. 93A-12/Clerk of Court procedure.

Broker’s Role in Tenant Security Deposit Disputes:

If a landlord and residential tenant dispute the allocation of a tenant security deposit, the broker should follow the lawful instructions of the landlord.
The tenant would need to pursue the matter in small claims court.

Deficit Spending:

A broker must never disburse more money from their trust account than what they are holding for a client. This is known as deficit spending.

Deficit spending involves using funds belonging to others to pay expenses for someone else.

This situation may be more common in property management than in sales transactions.

Safeguarding Client Monies:

Rule A.0116’s final paragraph mandates that all licensees protect and safeguard the monies and property of others in their possession.
Brokers are strictly prohibited from:

Converting client money or property for personal use.
Using such money or property for purposes other than their intended use.
Assisting others in converting or misusing client money or property.

These guidelines ensure brokers uphold the integrity of client monies and act in accordance with ethical and legal responsibilities.

The MoveZen Rental Owner Accounting Basics document outlines the fundamental financial practices and principles for managing rental properties, including tracking income and expenses, understanding cash flow, and preparing for tax obligations.

Listing, Showing, Marketing Your Rental

The best answer to this question can be found by requesting a 

MoveZen Rental Rate Estimate Here 

For existing owners / investors request an updated pre list market estimate either with your account manager, or a quick help ticket above

Our market estimate is created and finalized by multiple highly experienced people, not algorithms.  Our estimates account for the timing of your peak opportunity to rent the home, not the past 6 months.  Our market estimates are custom, take a little more time, and we stand behind them

If we can’t meet our quoted estimated rate you can leave with no penalty if you like.  Most stay. The rental market can change quickly and they respect that

If you insist on marketing outside of our quoted estimate, that will be fine, but you will have to accept full responsibility for the listings performance, regardless of minor complaints about quality, approach, etc

While it’s tempting for an owner who’s sure of their homes value to nit pick listing details as the cause of the trouble (details we usually don’t control), the fact is about 7 major things really move the market for a decent home these days

1.  Location

2.  A reasonably (relative) cared for home, and in some markets a very high quality home

3.  Size of home

4.  Size of lot

5. A great presentation that is seen by at least 80% of renters (we estimate our listings are seen by 90-95% of qualified leads)

6.  Fast follow-up with leads

7.  Very convenient finished product showings for potential residents

Honorable mention:  Wall to wall grey paint and LVP, quality fence, outside storage, secondary living duite

If you can’t affect those things you are most likely left with nothing but a price reduction once a home has been on the market for 31 days especially, but we usually reduce homes our staff own every 2 weeks except in very slow general market periods

While not showing up on Zillow at all is a major hindrance since they dominate about 70% of the market as of recent reports from our providers, minor listing errors that we usually have no control over do not deter renters from finding and securing a decent value home.  The market has softened, but it’s far from soft and a rate slightly below the owners who are adamant about getting a summer rate or something similar will usually fetch a quality resident fast

Presentation helps a lot, but even that isn’t a major market changing issue unless the presentation is simply terrible.  For all the effort we put into amazing presentations, we consider it to be a pretty standard approach these days since most of our competition is Wall Street owned companies that use similar technology. We’re fighting to keep up with them even though we do tend to present much better listings than our similar style competitors

At the end of the day if you have mostly covered those items above and the home isn’t renting you have three choices you can actually count on to some degree

1.  Wait for a better market (essentially season but that only works if the market keeps rising)

2.  Reduce the price

3.  Dramatically change the offering through renovations etc

Why might our estimate deviate from yours?

Especially post COVID this is a complex question requiring detailed research, experience, and foresight. As the hockey legend Wayne Gretzsky said, “I skate where the puck is going to be, not where it is”. 

Almost all algorithms skate where the puck was 30+ days ago and that single fact leads homeowners and professional managers alike to make very costly pricing decisions. Our estimate is built by multiple real people, doing real research, and takes a little time for those reasons 

The most important point regarding rental pricing is to keep in mind is that the market will always set the rate with minor deviations, regardless of how spectacular your marketing and presentation may be. We find that the individual question of monthly rental rate is not exceptionally helpful and at times can actually be misleading. 

For example, if you rent a $1000 a month home for $1200 but have to evict the tenant after 6 months due to nonpayment, you’ve now lost out on nearly $2000 in pure expenses, and that’s assuming they don’t damage the property. 

You would also have to factor in the additional vacancy, basic turnover costs, and perhaps marketing expenses to get the home rerented. If the eviction occurs in winter you will likely get 10-15% less than you would have gotten with a summer lease 

For this reason we encourage you to view rental management through the lens of annual bottom-line profit, which reflects impacts from all aspects of the rental decision process 

Setting a rental rate was once relatively simple.  COVID changed that dramatically, but presumably we’ll settle back to a similar cadence.  We look at three main factors, and then make adjustments from there 

1. How many are there, and what are similar nearby homes currently listed for? 

2. What have similar nearby homes been renting for? 


Once we establish these two figures we then adjust for unique features the property may have, whether pets are allowed (more on that here), and seasonal or future trends, discussed here 

Often there is sparse data on comparables, or a home is simply so unique basic adjustments won’t do the trick. Our system for setting rental rates addresses this issue extremely well. 

We always point out that pricing is truly an art, not a science, and we approach the process with exceptional flexibility even in situations where we do have good comparable data. 

Getting the best rental rate begins with presentation and marketing. A great home poorly presented and/or marketed will rent for a discount. 

This is why we put so much effort into those two phases as it often alleviates problems such as low tenant quality, and ow ners who are unhappy with their income. 

At this point we typically begin marketing the property 10-15% higher than the rate we expect to receive after analyzing the market data. 

We then systematically reduce about 2-5% every 7-10 days or so. These reductions serve a multitude of purposes with the most important being the automatic notification emails that many receive when a home they have shown interest in is reduced. 

This allows us to get leads interested over and over, create a sense of urgency, and to spike traffic just as it tends to start fading. If we can get the higher rate we will and often do, but we won’t be waiting and hoping. 

We are instead objectively proactive as to what the market will bear relative to vacancy costs, and typically rent most of our homes after 2 reductions (figures vary by season, condition, and for properties that rent for very low or high rates). 

When we complete your virtual rental evaluation we typically provide figures. The usually aggressive rate where we will begin marketing, and a bottom line rate we do not expect to have to go below.  

If we do have to go below the bottom-line rate you are offered a no penalty cancelation at that time.  We usually land near the top or middle of the range. If the bottom line rate isn’t an option for you, then its best that we not manage the property, as the market ultimately determines rate, and we don’t have a magic bullet. 

Instead we do a lot of small things exceptionally well, and this typically adds up to excellence. 

The rental market is much more fluid than many realize, and we like to be up front as to all possible outcomes. For more on pricing your rental visit this article 

There are some concerns, though vacant houses are very vulnerable either way. We’ve actually had a few break ins in our 20 year history, but never someone registering to use a lockbox for that purpose. While digital lockboxes are generally secure, it’s important to choose a reputable brand and regularly update access codes to minimize security risks.

No. Pictures and 3D Virtual tours are the property of MoveZen Property Management. Any use without our written consent or purchase is a violation of copyright laws. 

Homeowners are welcome to request pictures from their account manager.  We sell them for a fair cost with no restrictions on use.


Homeowners have complete access to their rental property while it is vacant. Once a home is rented and a resident has moved in we request you contact your account manager to schedule a day/time with your residents. While legally we are only required to give a 24 hour notice, as a courtesy to our wonderful residents we do try our best to schedule in advance. 

No! Each MoveZen rental home will have a 3D Virtual Tour taken and pictures will be pulled from that scan. Our marketing team will create your listing and publish it on our website, social media, and 3rd party websites like Zillow to make sure your home is getting the most exposure!

Most likely it is not accurate. We never directly measure a home on our own, and never make any legal representations for that reason. Many third party sites post square footage, and we have to rely on that information to help us estimate repair costs and rental rates, but we always understand it’s a very flawed method, and you must as well. Even if it’s listed on our website it is probably not accurate and only used internally for estimation purposes.

We also use Matterport 3D scans which do highly accurate scans of most of our rentals. They are quite accurate on a room to room basis, but measuring square footage is complex and their method is not the same as real estate brokers use. We also never scan every room, closet, etc. So manual measurements that you might do using the scan directly are extremely accurate and can be used to roughly place furniture quite well. Auto generated measurements especially for the whole home will often be way off though.

Matterport is the unquestioned leader in 3d rental housing virtual tours and is far superior to competition

Our integrated online listings, showings, and leasing system is one of the factors that has produced such high landlord and tenant satisfaction ratings. As well as dramatically speeds up the leasing process. We are convinced that property management must be catered to the needs of both the property owners and their tenants. Of course, the self-showing method is optional for homeowners, but we guarantee you will see great results if you opt to go that route.

​Our goal is to have your property listed in just a few days after signing your management agreement. However, there are some factors that may delay listing your property.


Factors that would delay your listing:

Property maintenance like touch-up paint, carpet clean/replacement, yard work, etc is unfinished
The home is not vacant
The home is not in showable condition
 Personal items are still being removed from the property

Our 3D Virtual Tour technology powered by Matterport is the industry’s top-of-the-line technology in virtual touring. With the ability to capture every square inch of your property in high definition, it’s important that your rental property be presented to the best of its ability. To maintain homeowner privacy we do prefer the home to be vacant and free of any personal items you would not want the world to see for years to come.

The Listing Process:

Our team of operations technicians will first inspect your property to ensure it’s meeting all safety codes as well as spot any unknown dangers or damages that would need to be addressed.

Once we’ve gotten the ‘OK’ of our operations team, we immediately scan your property with our 3D Virtual Camera to showcase your home in the best way possible.

Our marketing team will process the scan, pull pictures, and edit when necessary to create a stunning listing for your home.

Each MoveZen rental property is unique so we spend the time creating a listing profile that stands out against the crowd.

Within 24 hours of receiving the virtual tour, the marketing team will have your property posted for the world to see and your personal account manager will begin managing the leads we receive.

Do not use our photos to create an additional listing yourself. 3rd party websites have difficulty showcasing multiple listings for the same property and your listing may not show at all. We will not be able to process any leads that you generate from your own listing causing confusion amongst future residents and our team.

Here are tips on how soon it would be advisable to list an occupied rental home which can be pretty complex.

https://movezen360.com/how-soon-should-i-list-my-rental-property/

When someone is interested in your property, they can easily apply online 24/7. Our application procedure involves: 

· A national credit and background check 

· Current employee / income verification 

· Several years past rental history including eviction search 

· A proven proprietary method for generating honest responses to open ended questions regarding the tenant’s situation.  

We then analyze the full picture rather than simply the notoriously narrow beacon score. We for example apply little weight to medical and education collections, and have found phenomenal tenant values by being open to those issues.  Our method has served us extremely well, as over the past decade including through COVID we have rarely had to evict tenants we chose. During COVID about 1% of tenants we chose had serious payment issues they didn’t rectify 

If the applicant passes our screening process, we will instruct them to pay the security deposit within 24-48 hours, or risk losing the home. We almost always collect at least one full month’s rent as a security deposit, but often much more 

We will then execute the lease and send a finalized copy to you. We do not have owners sign the lease as it presents serious challenges to evictions and other potential legal proceedings. If you have lease concerns or requests we must discuss these in advance.  You can view a sample copy of our lease here.  We utilize a standard lease derived from a version written by the NC Bar Association.  It is thorough, conservative, clear,  proven in court, written by judges, and not only comprehensively covers each state we operate in but would be an excellent lease across most of the nation 

We usually press tenants to sign a two year lease as reducing turnover can be a major contributor to bottom line profitability, but they’re very hard to come by these days. We usually require at least a one year commitment. In some situations (seasonal or road work related etc) we may find a shorter term to be beneficial, but we’ll outline our reasoning in these instances. Seasonal issues are the most common reason for shorter term leases as we prefer spring turnovers to such a degree, shaving a couple of months off can make a lot of sense.  We have an extensive policy on timing our leases for seasonal up swings .  You can view seasonal vacacy tips here 

We then typically handle the bulk of our accounting and owner payments around the 10th, and 17th, and 23rd of the month. In most cases we do not disburse funds until the tenant has moved into the property. The tenant’s security deposit is held in an escrow account per state real estate law.  

Maintenance, Repairs, Upkeep

When replacing a detector, it is imperative to choose the right device to ensure the safety of occupants. We mandate the installation of tamper-resistant, 10-year lithium battery smoke alarms in most cases. However, there are exceptions:

Hardwired Smoke Alarms with Battery Backup: If the existing alarm is a hardwired smoke alarm with a battery backup, it may be retained, provided that it is in proper working condition.

Combination Smoke/CO Detectors: Similarly, combination smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors may also remain in place if they are functional and meet safety requirements.

Upon installing a new detector, regardless of type, it is vital to conduct a thorough test to verify its functionality. This step ensures that the detector can effectively alert residents in the event of a fire or other emergencies. The testing process should be meticulously documented, including the date of installation and test results.

Furthermore, it is crucial to retain all manufacturer documentation that accompanies the newly installed detector. This paperwork contains essential information about the device’s operation, maintenance, and warranty, serving as a valuable resource for both staff and residents.

In instances where detectors are installed at heights exceeding 10 feet, the replacement process should be handled by a qualified vendor. This practice guarantees the safety of both the staff and residents and ensures that the installation is executed accurately and securely.

Any units that are expired, visibly worn or in poor condition, and those that exhibit a yellow discoloration should be taken down and replaced immediately. This includes units that are not connected to a wire harness, as they may not function as intended in critical situations.

Detector Placement for Maximum Effectiveness

For carbon monoxide detectors:

One CO detector is mandated on each level of the home. These detectors can be standalone CO detectors or combination smoke/CO detectors, typically positioned in hallways for optimal coverage.

For smoke detectors:

At least one smoke detector is required in each living area, bedroom, or the entrance to bedrooms. Hallways are also key locations for smoke detector placement, ensuring quick detection of smoke throughout the home. If they are up 10 ft tall then this must be noted so that team is aware to bring a ladder. 

If wired keep them wired and if they are not in use then remove them. 

Maintenance and Replacement Guidelines

Age of Detectors: Detectors older than 7 years must be replaced. Aging detectors might not function as effectively due to wear and tear.

Battery-Powered Detectors: If a functional battery-powered detector is less than 7 years old and does not have a tamper-resistant 10-year lithium battery, the batteries should be replaced regularly with fresh ones.

Thorough Logging: It’s imperative to keep a detailed log of each detector on the property. This log should include the detector type (smoke, CO, or combination), model, and specific location within the home.

Testing: Each detector should undergo regular testing to ensure its functionality. During property inspections, every detector must pass a logged test and be documented accordingly.

As a responsible homeowner, ensuring the safety of your property and loved ones is of paramount importance. One crucial aspect of this is fire safety. Fires can be devastating, causing irreparable damage to both property and lives.

Smoke alarms are the first line of defense against fires. Test these alarms monthly and replace batteries annually to ensure their effectiveness.

A well-structured evacuation plan can mean the difference between a safe escape and chaos during a fire. Sit down with your family and discuss the most efficient evacuation routes from each room, ensuring that everyone knows where to meet outside and how to contact emergency services.

Cluttered hallways and obstructed exits can impede your escape during a fire. Keep pathways clear and ensure that windows and doors can be easily opened. Avoid locking or blocking emergency exits, as these can be critical for evacuation.

Make sure you and your family members know how to use fire extinguishers. Remember the acronym PASS: Pull the pin, Aim the nozzle, Squeeze the handle, and Sweep from side to side.

The kitchen is a hotspot for potential fires. Never leave cooking unattended, and keep flammable items away from the stove. Use a timer to remind you when food is cooking, and have a lid nearby to smother grease fires. If a fire starts in a pot or pan, cover it with a lid and turn off the heat.

Inspect your electrical cords regularly for fraying or damage, and replace them as needed. Avoid overloading outlets, and unplug appliances when they are not in use. If you notice any flickering lights or unusual smells from outlets, consult an electrician promptly.

Heating equipment, such as space heaters and fireplaces, requires extra caution. Keep flammable objects away from these heat sources, and have a professional inspect your heating systems annually. Install proper screens or barriers to prevent sparks from escaping fireplaces.

Fire safety is an integral part of responsible homeownership. By implementing these measures, you can significantly reduce the risk of fires and ensure the safety of your loved ones and property. Regular maintenance, careful planning, and awareness of potential fire hazards are the keys to a fire-safe home. Remember, being prepared is the best defense against any emergency.

​As a landlord partnered with a distinguished property management company, your pursuit of excellence extends beyond the physical aspects of a property. The aesthetics of a living space are paramount in attracting and retaining tenants, and a fundamental element of this is the act of painting a room. The colors you choose and the quality of execution can significantly enhance the appeal and value of your property.

Gathering and Organize Your Painting Materials  

– Use drop cloths or tarps to protect surfaces from paint spills and splatters

– Apply painter’s tape of various widths to create sharp edges and avoid painting unwanted areas

– Sand and scrape the surface to remove old paint, dirt and imperfections

– Fill cracks and gaps with painter’s caulk or quick-drying spackle for a smooth finish

– Choose high-quality paintbrushes of various sizes for different parts of the project

– Have extra rollers and roller covers of different types for different paint textures and effects

 – Attach a light sturdy extension pole to your paint roller for hard-to-reach places

 –  Use paint pans and pan liners for easy pouring and cleaning of paint

– Open paint cans with paint can openers to avoid damaging the lids and rims

– Clean brushes and equipment with low-odor paint thinner after use

– Keep disposable wet wipes handy for quick clean-up and hand cleaning

Link for organizing painting materials – https://justagirlandherblog.com/organize-paint-supplies/

Select the Right (and High-Quality) Paint  

Repainting a complete rental unit requires a significant investment of labor, overshadowing the comparatively insignificant cost of paint. Selecting the ideal wall finish poses a choice between matte flat latex, known for its non-reflective look, and glossy enamel, renowned for its radiant shine. Striking a harmonious equilibrium between labor-intensive efforts and the optimal paint finish selection holds paramount importance in the process of revitalizing a rental unit.

Link for selecting the right paint – https://www.elledecor.com/home-remodeling-renovating/home-renovation/advice/a2777/different-types-paint-finishes/

Simply Your Colors

Choosing a single shade has many benefits. One is that it makes touch-ups and matching the existing paint easier. This is important for exterior projects, where the current color is often the best option. Using the original paint color simplifies the repainting task than changing colors.

Prep for Painting  

Use a fast-drying filler or paintable caulk to patch small holes.
Sand any paint that is peeling and prime any bare exterior wood.
Remove and organize the light switch and outlet cover plates by room in a clear plastic bag labeled.

Carefully masking or taping off areas you aren’t planning.
Using a tarp to protect interiors and exteriors.                                                                              
Can match texture if there is a damaged area.

Start Painting

1. Make sure you have the right conditions:

The ideal paint conditions are dry days.
The temperature should be between 50- and 85-degrees Fahrenheit.
This applies to most latex paints.

2. Cut in corners:

Do this before the paint dries. By doing so, you won’t see the edges.

3. Use primer when needed.

4. Dodge direct sunlight when painting the exterior.

5. Keep perspective for improvements.

Clean Up After Painting  

To ensure a tidy paint job, remember to bring along garbage bags to conveniently cover and seal your paint tray, brush, and roller once you’ve completed an area. This will help keep them clean and prevent any accidental spills. Additionally, it’s a good idea to paint while wearing socks to avoid tracking paint onto other surfaces. By following these simple tips, you can maintain a neat and organized painting process.

Rent ready and sales-ready are two totally different concepts. We often have exceptional success renting homes with rough carpet and paint. However, even in today’s relatively hot sales market, those minor issues can be brutal to your ability to sell at all, let alone thrive. This means, even if we were to focus a fair amount of attention and spending on marginal upkeep, most owners would still be required to replace all carpets and do a significant paint job at a minimum. When we paint for example, more often than not we would only spend about $400 on the average 3BR home. A sales quality paint job however should run at least $1500, probably much more. We also rarely paint trim and doors, and this is also typically needed prior to sale. Therefore our best option is to maximize cash flow while we manage the home, advise owners to earmark a portion of this above-average income for an eventual refresh prior to sale or move in, and enjoy the benefits of both increased cash flow and a fresh start. Trying to keep a rental anywhere close to sales quality over time is an expensive lesson in futility as no one, not even the best tenants, will treat a home as well as the owner. Due to our cash-flow focused management policy, expect to invest a decent sum in turning a property over for sale or owner move-in. More on this topic here…

Some renters can be harder on the floors of rental properties due to the fact that they do not own it. For that reason, it’s important to look at all the costs, pros and cons, and value of each type of flooring material before installing it in a home you plan to rent.

As a rental investor, you want to make the best possible decisions for your rental property to ensure its long-term success. I cannot stress enough how important it is to consider luxury vinyl plank (LVP) flooring over carpet. Trust me, you won’t regret it.

Imagine the peace of mind you’ll have knowing that your flooring is durable enough to handle whatever your tenants throw at it. LVP is incredibly resilient, standing up to daily wear and tear like a champion. Unlike carpets, which can quickly show signs of aging, LVP remains fresh and attractive for years.

Now picture a tenant accidentally spilling a glass of red wine. With carpet, you’d be looking at a near-permanent stain and a potential replacement. With LVP, however, a simple wipe with a damp cloth, and the problem is gone. The water-resistant nature of LVP makes it a no-brainer for rental properties, where accidents are inevitable.

Your tenants will love you for choosing LVP. It’s a breeze to clean and doesn’t harbor allergens, providing a healthier living environment. Plus, the vast range of designs allows you to create a space that appeals to a wide variety of tastes, increasing the likelihood of finding the perfect tenant for your property.

Installation? A piece of cake. LVP’s simple installation process ensures minimal downtime between tenants, keeping your rental income flowing. And while it may have a higher upfront cost, the longevity, low maintenance, and increased appeal will pay dividends in the long run.

Don’t let carpet hold your rental property back. Make the smart choice and invest in luxury vinyl plank flooring. You’ll not only enhance the attractiveness of your property but also improve its durability, cleanliness, and overall return on investment. Trust me, you and your tenants will be thrilled with the results!

Luxury vinyl plank (LVP) flooring has grown in popularity in recent years, and for good reason. When comparing LVP to carpet in a rental home, there are several benefits a landlord should consider.

Durability: LVP is incredibly durable and resistant to wear and tear. It can withstand heavy foot traffic, making it ideal for rental properties. Carpet, on the other hand, can wear down over time and may require more frequent replacement.

Water resistance: LVP is water-resistant, which means it won’t be damaged by spills, accidents, or moisture. This is especially important in areas like kitchens, bathrooms, or basements. Carpets can be prone to water damage, leading to mold and mildew issues if not addressed promptly.

Low maintenance: LVP is easy to clean and requires minimal maintenance. Tenants can simply sweep or mop the floor to keep it looking great. Carpet, conversely, needs regular vacuuming and may require professional cleaning to remove stubborn stains and maintain its appearance.

Allergen reduction: LVP doesn’t harbor allergens like dust mites, pet dander, and pollen, making it a better choice for tenants with allergies or respiratory issues. Carpet can trap these allergens, leading to a decline in indoor air quality.

Design versatility: LVP is available in a wide range of styles, colors, and textures, allowing landlords to choose a design that complements the rental property’s aesthetic. LVP can even mimic the look of hardwood, stone, or tile. Carpet has less design versatility and may not appeal to all tenant tastes.

Easy installation: LVP is relatively easy and quick to install, which means less downtime between tenants. This can result in a higher occupancy rate for your rental property. Carpet installation can be more complex and time-consuming.

Better ROI: While LVP might have a higher upfront cost than carpet, its durability, low maintenance, and longer lifespan can lead to a better return on investment (ROI) in the long run. Carpets may need to be replaced more frequently, leading to higher overall costs.

Noise reduction: While carpets are known for their noise reduction capabilities, many LVP products now come with sound-absorbing underlayments. This means you can still achieve a quieter environment without sacrificing the other benefits of LVP.

In summary, luxury vinyl plank flooring offers numerous benefits to landlords, including durability, water resistance, low maintenance, allergen reduction, design versatility, easy installation, better ROI, and noise reduction. By choosing LVP over carpet, landlords can increase the appeal of their rental property and potentially attract a broader range of tenants.

Maintaining the aesthetic appeal and functionality of rental properties is crucial for attracting and retaining tenants. One effective way to achieve this is by refinishing cabinets. Cabinets play a significant role in a property’s overall appearance and can greatly influence a tenant’s impression.

Cabinet refinishing involves revitalizing and updating the appearance of existing cabinets, making them look as good as new without the need for a complete replacement. This process offers numerous benefits:

Cost-Effectiveness: Cabinet replacement can be a significant expense. Refinishing, on the other hand, is a budget-friendly alternative that can yield impressive results, enhancing the property’s value without breaking the bank.

Tenant Attraction and Retention: Well-maintained cabinets contribute to a positive first impression for potential tenants. Existing occupants are more likely to renew their leases when they see that their living space is being cared for and improved.

Shortened Turnaround Time: Refinishing takes less time than a full cabinet replacement, allowing landlords to quickly prepare a rental unit for the next tenant.

Eco-Friendly Approach: By refinishing cabinets, landlords contribute to sustainability by reducing waste associated with replacing perfectly functional cabinets.

Customization Opportunities: Refinishing enables landlords to change the color or finish of cabinets, aligning them with contemporary design trends or the property’s overall theme.

Step-by-Step Guide

Assessment and Planning: Begin by assessing the current condition of the cabinets. Determine if they need minor repairs, sanding, or new hardware. Plan the refinishing process based on the materials and tools required.

Gather Supplies: Acquire the necessary supplies, including sandpaper, paint or stain, brushes, painter’s tape, drop cloths, and hardware if replacement is part of the plan.

Empty and Clean Cabinets: Remove all items from the cabinets and clean the surfaces thoroughly. This provides a clean canvas for the refinishing process.

Sanding: Lightly sand the cabinet surfaces to remove any existing finish and create a smooth base for the new finish to adhere to. Ensure to sand evenly and remove any dust afterwards.

Repair and Replace: Address any minor repairs such as filling holes or dents. If changing hardware, measure and mark the spots for new holes.

Priming (If Necessary): Applying a primer can help the new finish adhere better and provide a consistent base for the paint or stain.

Paint or Stain Application: Apply the chosen paint or stain evenly. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding drying times between coats.

Finishing Touches: Once the paint or stain is dry, apply a clear protective finish to seal the cabinets and enhance their durability. This step ensures the cabinets can withstand daily wear and tear.

Reassemble and Replace Hardware: Once the final finish is dry, reassemble the cabinets and attach any new hardware if applicable.
Cleanup and Inspection: Clean up the work area and inspect the cabinets to ensure a flawless result. Look for any touch-ups that might be needed.

Refinishing cabinets is a valuable investment for landlords and property management companies seeking to enhance the appeal of their rental properties.

Link to external resource: https://www.homesandgardens.com/kitchens/how-to-refinish-kitchen-cabinets

As a landlord partnered with a distinguished property management company, your pursuit of excellence extends beyond the physical aspects of a property. The aesthetics of a living space are paramount in attracting and retaining tenants, and a fundamental element of this is the act of painting a room. The colors you choose and the quality of execution can significantly enhance the appeal and value of your property.

Gathering and Organize Your Painting Materials  

– Use drop cloths or tarps to protect surfaces from paint spills and splatters

– Apply painter’s tape of various widths to create sharp edges and avoid painting unwanted areas

– Sand and scrape the surface to remove old paint, dirt and imperfections

– Fill cracks and gaps with painter’s caulk or quick-drying spackle for a smooth finish

– Choose high-quality paintbrushes of various sizes for different parts of the project

– Have extra rollers and roller covers of different types for different paint textures and effects

 – Attach a light sturdy extension pole to your paint roller for hard-to-reach places

 –  Use paint pans and pan liners for easy pouring and cleaning of paint

– Open paint cans with paint can openers to avoid damaging the lids and rims

– Clean brushes and equipment with low-odor paint thinner after use

– Keep disposable wet wipes handy for quick clean-up and hand cleaning

Link for organizing painting materials – https://justagirlandherblog.com/organize-paint-supplies/

Select the Right (and High-Quality) Paint  

Repainting a complete rental unit requires a significant investment of labor, overshadowing the comparatively insignificant cost of paint. Selecting the ideal wall finish poses a choice between matte flat latex, known for its non-reflective look, and glossy enamel, renowned for its radiant shine. Striking a harmonious equilibrium between labor-intensive efforts and the optimal paint finish selection holds paramount importance in the process of revitalizing a rental unit.

Link for selecting the right paint – https://www.elledecor.com/home-remodeling-renovating/home-renovation/advice/a2777/different-types-paint-finishes/

Simply Your Colors

Choosing a single shade has many benefits. One is that it makes touch-ups and matching the existing paint easier. This is important for exterior projects, where the current color is often the best option. Using the original paint color simplifies the repainting task than changing colors.

Prep for Painting  

Use a fast-drying filler or paintable caulk to patch small holes.
Sand any paint that is peeling and prime any bare exterior wood.
Remove and organize the light switch and outlet cover plates by room in a clear plastic bag labeled.

Carefully masking or taping off areas you aren’t planning.
Using a tarp to protect interiors and exteriors.                                                                              
Can match texture if there is a damaged area.

Start Painting

1. Make sure you have the right conditions:

The ideal paint conditions are dry days.
The temperature should be between 50- and 85-degrees Fahrenheit.
This applies to most latex paints.

2. Cut in corners:

Do this before the paint dries. By doing so, you won’t see the edges.

3. Use primer when needed.

4. Dodge direct sunlight when painting the exterior.

5. Keep perspective for improvements.

Clean Up After Painting  

To ensure a tidy paint job, remember to bring along garbage bags to conveniently cover and seal your paint tray, brush, and roller once you’ve completed an area. This will help keep them clean and prevent any accidental spills. Additionally, it’s a good idea to paint while wearing socks to avoid tracking paint onto other surfaces. By following these simple tips, you can maintain a neat and organized painting process.

Embarking on the journey of renting out your property comes with its share of opportunities and considerations. One crucial factor that often sits at the forefront of a homeowner’s mind is how to minimize the time between listing the property and securing reliable tenants. By implementing these strategies, you can optimize your property’s appeal and increase the chances of a successful and swift rental experience.

First impressions count, and the exterior of your property is the first thing potential tenants will see. Enhance your property’s curb appeal by ensuring the exterior is well-maintained. Clean up the yard, trim bushes and trees, and consider a fresh coat of paint for doors and window frames. A well-kept exterior not only attracts tenants but also sets a positive tone for the entire property.

High-quality photos are essential for online listings. Hire a professional photographer to capture your property’s best features. Bright, well-lit images showcasing each room will make your property stand out in listings and attract more potential renters.

Research the local rental market to determine a competitive rental rate. Pricing your property appropriately ensures it appeals to a broad range of potential tenants. If your rent is set too high, you might discourage interested renters; if it’s too low, you might miss out on potential income.

Utilize multiple advertising platforms to reach a wider audience. Online listing websites, social media, and local classifieds are all valuable tools. Craft compelling and informative descriptions that highlight your property’s unique features, amenities, and location advantages.

Tenants often look for specific amenities, so make sure to highlight what your property offers. Whether it’s a well-equipped kitchen, modern appliances, a spacious backyard, or proximity to public transportation, showcasing these features can significantly attract potential renters.

When showcasing your property, it’s important to create a clean and neutral interior space. A fresh coat of paint in neutral colors and thorough cleaning can make your property look well-maintained and inviting. This also helps potential tenants visualize how they can personalize the space.

Make it convenient for potential tenants to view your property by offering flexible viewing times, including evenings and weekends. Accommodating their schedules increases the likelihood of attracting serious renters.

Streamline the application process by offering an online application option. This allows interested tenants to apply quickly and conveniently, reducing the time it takes to review applications and select the right tenant.

Thorough tenant screening is crucial to finding reliable renters. Conduct background checks, verify employment, and check references to ensure that the tenants you choose have a history of responsible behavior.

Renting out your property can be a rewarding venture when done right. By focusing on curb appeal, effective advertising, showcasing amenities, and maintaining a well-kept interior, you can attract quality tenants and get your property rented faster. Remember, a combination of strategic planning, attention to detail, and  the assistance of a property management company like ourselves can make the rental process smoother and more successful.

As a responsible homeowner, ensuring the safety of your property and loved ones is of paramount importance. One crucial aspect of this is fire safety. Fires can be devastating, causing irreparable damage to both property and lives.

Smoke alarms are the first line of defense against fires. Test these alarms monthly and replace batteries annually to ensure their effectiveness.

A well-structured evacuation plan can mean the difference between a safe escape and chaos during a fire. Sit down with your family and discuss the most efficient evacuation routes from each room, ensuring that everyone knows where to meet outside and how to contact emergency services.

Cluttered hallways and obstructed exits can impede your escape during a fire. Keep pathways clear and ensure that windows and doors can be easily opened. Avoid locking or blocking emergency exits, as these can be critical for evacuation.

Make sure you and your family members know how to use fire extinguishers. Remember the acronym PASS: Pull the pin, Aim the nozzle, Squeeze the handle, and Sweep from side to side.

The kitchen is a hotspot for potential fires. Never leave cooking unattended, and keep flammable items away from the stove. Use a timer to remind you when food is cooking, and have a lid nearby to smother grease fires. If a fire starts in a pot or pan, cover it with a lid and turn off the heat.

Inspect your electrical cords regularly for fraying or damage, and replace them as needed. Avoid overloading outlets, and unplug appliances when they are not in use. If you notice any flickering lights or unusual smells from outlets, consult an electrician promptly.

Heating equipment, such as space heaters and fireplaces, requires extra caution. Keep flammable objects away from these heat sources, and have a professional inspect your heating systems annually. Install proper screens or barriers to prevent sparks from escaping fireplaces.

Fire safety is an integral part of responsible homeownership. By implementing these measures, you can significantly reduce the risk of fires and ensure the safety of your loved ones and property. Regular maintenance, careful planning, and awareness of potential fire hazards are the keys to a fire-safe home. Remember, being prepared is the best defense against any emergency.

Detector Placement for Maximum Effectiveness

For carbon monoxide detectors:

One CO detector is mandated on each level of the home. These detectors can be standalone CO detectors or combination smoke/CO detectors, typically positioned in hallways for optimal coverage.

For smoke detectors:

At least one smoke detector is required in each living area, bedroom, or the entrance to bedrooms. Hallways are also key locations for smoke detector placement, ensuring quick detection of smoke throughout the home. If they are up 10 ft tall then this must be noted so that team is aware to bring a ladder. 

If wired keep them wired and if they are not in use then remove them. 

Maintenance and Replacement Guidelines

Age of Detectors: Detectors older than 7 years must be replaced. Aging detectors might not function as effectively due to wear and tear.

Battery-Powered Detectors: If a functional battery-powered detector is less than 7 years old and does not have a tamper-resistant 10-year lithium battery, the batteries should be replaced regularly with fresh ones.

Thorough Logging: It’s imperative to keep a detailed log of each detector on the property. This log should include the detector type (smoke, CO, or combination), model, and specific location within the home.

Testing: Each detector should undergo regular testing to ensure its functionality. During property inspections, every detector must pass a logged test and be documented accordingly.

When replacing a detector, it is imperative to choose the right device to ensure the safety of occupants. We mandate the installation of tamper-resistant, 10-year lithium battery smoke alarms in most cases. However, there are exceptions:

Hardwired Smoke Alarms with Battery Backup: If the existing alarm is a hardwired smoke alarm with a battery backup, it may be retained, provided that it is in proper working condition.

Combination Smoke/CO Detectors: Similarly, combination smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors may also remain in place if they are functional and meet safety requirements.

Upon installing a new detector, regardless of type, it is vital to conduct a thorough test to verify its functionality. This step ensures that the detector can effectively alert residents in the event of a fire or other emergencies. The testing process should be meticulously documented, including the date of installation and test results.

Furthermore, it is crucial to retain all manufacturer documentation that accompanies the newly installed detector. This paperwork contains essential information about the device’s operation, maintenance, and warranty, serving as a valuable resource for both staff and residents.

In instances where detectors are installed at heights exceeding 10 feet, the replacement process should be handled by a qualified vendor. This practice guarantees the safety of both the staff and residents and ensures that the installation is executed accurately and securely.

Any units that are expired, visibly worn or in poor condition, and those that exhibit a yellow discoloration should be taken down and replaced immediately. This includes units that are not connected to a wire harness, as they may not function as intended in critical situations.

Before beginning the inspection process, it’s important to have a clear plan in place. Line up the inspections by noting the year each unit was built. Check miscellaneous maintenance notes, and determine whether the unit uses gas, propane, or has a garage. Understanding these details will provide context for the detector policy and help identify any specific concerns related to the units.

Communication is key when conducting inspections. Prior to testing, always inform the residents of the upcoming detector tests. Offer to test every unit and be responsive to their preferences. If a resident objects, emphasize that fire safety is a mandatory condition of their lease. Document their response for record-keeping purposes, especially if not all smoke/CO detectors under 10 feet are being tested.

For each floor, test one unit of each type (smoke and CO). This ensures a representative sample is checked. Begin with the newest detector on the floor. Take note of the general appearance, location, and whether multiple units are present.

After testing, diligently record the results for each unit. For instance, note “Floor 1 hall smoke detector: Passed.” If all units alarm during a single test, make a clear notation of this event.

If any detectors are positioned higher than 10 feet and cannot be reached with a standard ladder, arrange for a vendor to address these units.

If a unit is too high to clearly identify as a combo unit (smoke and CO), check for another CO detector on the same floor. If no CO detector is found, mark it as non-compliant and document the reason. If our inspection cannot confirm the presence of a functional CO detector on every level, dispatch a vendor for further verification.

If visible issues such as yellowing, obvious age, damage, or discoloration are detected, initiate the appropriate actions. For minor issues, handle them through the basic work order process. If pre-approval has been obtained, address the issue immediately. If there are serious concerns, contact the office to arrange for a vendor to address the issue promptly.

Detectors should be in good condition or replaced. This includes checking for discoloration, obvious aging, breakage, and ensuring the unit is intact and functional. The same policy applies to CO detectors.

Whenever possible, address issues like old or damaged detectors on the spot. This could involve replacing the entire unit. If immediate resolution is not feasible, document the issue as an action item and promptly notify a relevant office member. Yellow detectors, especially if they are the only one on a floor, should be treated as a priority.

To ensure the functionality of detectors, provide company-provided 9-volt batteries. Offer at least one battery per needed device (CO and smoke) at no cost upon resident request.

Safety begins with accessible exits. It’s crucial that exit doors and stairs remain unblocked at all times. Additionally, each bedroom must have a window that can be opened and accessed when tested. Ensuring unobstructed pathways guarantees that residents can quickly and safely evacuate in case of emergencies.

To maintain optimal detector functionality, all batteries must be changed before new move-ins. High and hard-to-reach places should be prioritized for battery replacement. If authorized by the owner, opt for 10-year tamper-resistant batteries. In cases where the owner’s preference isn’t specified, prioritize the use of 9-volt batteries. Every move-in should include brand new batteries in all detectors within the unit.

Selecting the appropriate detectors is vital for comprehensive safety coverage. In most homes, incorporating both smoke and CO detectors is essential, and the incremental cost is minimal. Opt for combination units that cover both smoke and CO detection needs. This approach simplifies the installation process and provides comprehensive protection against potential hazards.

New residents deserve a safe living space from the moment they move in. As part of move-in standards, make sure that:

Every living area, hallway, and bedroom has a functional smoke detector.

A smoke detector is present in each bedroom.

A CO detector is located in the hallway on each level of the home.

For homes with five or more bedrooms, additional safety considerations are essential. Obtain special approval from management, factoring in aspects such as square footage, detector distances, and the construction year. These factors help tailor the installation process to the unique characteristics of larger units.

In situations where an excessive number of detectors are present, proactive steps are required. Address the following:

Remove all expired, yellowed, or visibly deteriorated units.
If excessive detectors aren’t connected to a wire harness, take them down. Ensuring the proper functionality of each detector is integral to maintaining a robust safety network.

Wire harnesses, whether hardwired or not, play a crucial role in detector installation. In most cases, a smoke detector should be placed wherever a wire harness exists. In situations where numerous harnesses are present, consider involving a vendor to ensure comprehensive coverage. If a wire harness is no longer operational, a 10-year tamper-resistant battery can effectively power the detector.

Investment, Measuring Performance

Net Annual Income: The North Star Metric

When pricing rental rates, zoom out and aim for maximizing Net Annual Income (NAI) instead of obsessing over monthly rental rates. This holistic perspective will give you a clearer idea of long-term profitability.

Resident Quality Over Quick Revenue

A responsible resident paying a fair market rate is generally more valuable than a higher-paying but unreliable one. Quality of residents impacts not only immediate cash flow but also the condition of your asset in the long run.

The Equation is Multifaceted

Setting the rental rate isn’t an isolated decision; it’s part of a complex equation involving your screening process, management practices, and unit condition. Don’t get sidetracked by a neighbor’s high rent—your units aren’t identical in size, condition, or amenities.

Deciphering Value vs. Price

Value encompasses factors like location, size, condition, and amenities. Price is what you charge. Overpricing based solely on price without considering value is a surefire way to increase vacancies and decrease quality in residents, thus affecting NAI.

The High Cost of Vacancies

Calculate daily costs tied to vacancies to understand the financial hemorrhage caused by an empty unit. Reducing the rent to secure a resident faster is often a prudent financial move.

Pets: A Common Reality

Ignoring the 80% of renters with pets will cost you by shrinking your applicant pool, possibly requiring you to lower your rental rate or invest in property upgrades to stay competitive.

Location & Unit Value: The Immutable Factors

No amount of savvy management or marketing magic can overcome a bad location or subpar unit. Your focus should be on aligning the price with market value.

Units in Disrepair: The Problem Magnets

Substandard units are problematic both in terms of maintenance and resident quality. They’re likely to attract residents who are problematic and can cost you dearly in the long term, erasing years of profits.

Real-time Market Dynamics

Platforms like Zillow have catalyzed a fast-moving rental market. If a unit is priced correctly and in good condition, it will attract immediate attention in a strong market. You can’t realistically push a unit’s rent above its intrinsic value for long.

The Cornerstones: Value, Maintenance, Screening, and NAI Focus

To be successful, align your rental price with market value, maintain the unit impeccably, apply stringent screening, and always focus on net annual income rather than just monthly rates. This integrated approach will help you attract and retain high-quality residents, maximizing your NAI.

Even we are amazed how consistent a washer and dryer ranks on renter surveys year after year. The one exception is homes renting in the top 20% or so, those residents often want to use their own. One issue that seems to be cloudy for a lot of rental investing landlords is whether it’s a benefit to their bottom-line to include a washer and dryer with their rental and marketing.  In this article, we’re going to discuss

Whether it’s worth it or not
Who could most benefit
How to handle the repair issue

Read More:

In this article, we’re going to break down why listing your rental property more than 2-3 weeks in advance of its available move-in date, is often not the best idea. 


Are the rent-to-own options really as great as they seem? This solution to home buying can have potential risks and be a bit more complicated than the traditional route of financing and purchasing a property. There is a dirty little secret about the rent-to-own process that you need to know about.

State laws regulate late fees that can be charged to a tenant. For example, North Carolina law states that the late fee cannot be more than 5% of the rent or $15 – whichever is greater. 

Renting to college students can be very profitable for landlords. There is a high demand for off-campus housing which drives up rents. What is more, you can often get more rental income than renting to typical non-student tenants. However…

When aiming to optimize your Net Operating Income, you must be aware of the rent ceiling. To determine the reasonable amount of rent for each rental unit, you must calculate the market rent. This article will instruct you on how to work out the fair market rent.


It really started picking up in 2022. Rents were high and renters looking for a new home were priced out of the market. Others faced evictions and needed to secure a new home before their rental history was affected. All in all, it was a crazy time.

We aren’t aware of any traditional rental scams targetting landlords. They are usually more regarding your ownership of the home. There are renters who scam landlords but that is a matter of proper screening long before they ever have a chance to do any damage. It’s also a major topic we cover in other questions.

We take resident selection extremely seriously. Especially in a post-COVID environment where fraud is rampant, running 4X 2019 levels. In most instances we are much more strict on the quality of credit we will accept into our homes than the owner is. Since you often have to cut the price a bit to get a high quality resident many owners flirt with low quality credit as we implore them not to. 90% of the horror stories you heard in the past were due to owners who pushed too hard to get a specific rental rate by making that, not credit quality their top focus. If you were disciplined you almost never had a tenant cause major problems.

Post COVID we now have advanced fraud (this is even before AI has begun it’s creative usage) where residents apply for a home using a real ID with their photo, that links to a real credit report with real accounts tied to it. It is a lot harder to avoid a major problem now especially if you don’t process these reports in bulk and start to see the patterns. A topic too advanced for a basic article.

Still, even with a serious uptick in fraud, a disciplined manager or highly motivated homeowner will avoid major problems for many years in most cases.

Here’s an article on spotting scams that renters face. Why is is important that you know what renters might think is a scam? Because you would be shocked how many private landlords do extremely scammy things when listing their own homes honestly. Renters are on high alert, and if you send the wrong signals you’ll repulse the good ones and attract the ones who either don’t care that much (usually because they know they will be the problem in most cases) or are naive and may lack resources to be a strong renter.

Every year we get a major Buildium Management Software renter survey, and things rarely change much. You might see something move up or down the list, or over time take a high position, but for the most part these are pretty important issues in almost any market in the United States. We are all well aware of the concept of supply and demand. This is a list of what renters demand. If you don’t supply it, demand will fall and the price (rent paid) will come down. Rental markets in US cities are very efficient. So while a washing machine does run the risk of needing repair, it’s in the top 3 for most “demanded” amenity year after year. Again, if something in demand is not supplied, the price paid comes down. In this case, we estimate not supplying a washer / dryer for example (luxury homes excluded) to detract from top-line rent in the 5-10% range, over the long term. Since we usually end our relationship with owners who’ve earned $120,000+ in rent, that averages out to approximately $8000 lost. We’ve never spent more than a few thousand on washers / dryers for an account.

Find other important issues to know when marketing to today’s modern renter here. https://movezen360.com/top-10-things-tenants-want-in-a-rental/

Extremely. They dominate 70+% of the market share.


All About Zillow Rental Manager: A Transformative Solution for Landlords and Residents

Here’s information to help you get listed on Zillow.

Allowing animals in rental properties can be a great way for landlords to both increase their profit potential and decrease vacancy time. We estimate pet friendly rentals earn almost 20% more net annual income over time, in most markets. Since most of our owners receive over $100k from us during our relationship, that’s $20,000+ in additional bottom-line income. Yea, you should probably allow pets.

No it is not. Homes degrade over time and we as investment managers never over manage upkeep because it can easily wipe out most profit. The best method is to rent for maxium result for a long period of time, then do a CapEx type of update / renovation.

When we turn a home over after a rental, to prepare for another rental we cut every corner we possibly can without increasing degradation of the property, or affecting the rate. A rental quality paint job might cost $2k, but any sales agent would push for a $6k paint job. That’s the difference in the sales and rental markets in a nutshell. Here are details.

Though that is common knowledge, there are a few facts about security deposits that many landlords know little about. For example, are you collecting?

First, don’t call it an inspection when you contact your resident. Few words instantly put people on guard more than inspection. Call it a quick home visit to test the fire system, look for pest and rotten wood damage and just make a quick note that everything is in good order. Here are details.

Are you asking yourself “How soon should I list my rental property”? In this hot rental market, it’s tempting for landlords and property owners to put their investment property on the rental market early. Some may think that their prime opportunity to find a tenant is now with peak moving season in play.

Enjoy this simple step-by-step checklist for getting a home rented. This follows the logical order from getting started to wrapping up, but you don’t want to have to hunt down a lease after someone has committed to move in. Or begin making arrangements to be able to show, after you have listed. Those delays can cost you

First, lets start by saying that there is NO STANDARD FEE STRUCTURE. Each property management firm offers different management rates; some monthly, some offer a flat rate, and some a combination of both.

There is the right way to encourage a tenant to move out without an eviction and there is the wrong way. If you take the wrong path, you could very well end up in court yourself and it will not be pretty.

The Wrong Way to Get the Tenants to Move Out Without an Eviction

As a landlord, you do not want to take a cowboy approach to the person in legal possession of your large asset. It’s time to be savvy and nuanced.

Measuring the total performance of your landlord endevour can be split into two main categories: management performance and investment performance. It’s important to distinguish between the two to get a clear understanding of how well the property is being managed, and how well the investment is performing financially. These are two very different things that most landlords misunderstand to some degree.

Investment Performance:

  • Occupancy Rates: High occupancy rates indicate effective marketing and tenant retention strategies.
  • Tenant Satisfaction: Positive feedback and low turnover rates suggest good tenant relations and property maintenance.
  • Efficiency in Operations: Timely response to maintenance requests, cost-effective property upkeep, and smooth rent collection processes are indicators of good management.
  • Expense Management: Keeping operating expenses within budget while maintaining property quality.

Investment Performance:

  • Cash Flow: The net income generated from the rental property after deducting all operating expenses and mortgage payments. Positive cash flow indicates a profitable investment.
  • Return on Investment (ROI): A measure of the profitability of the investment, calculated as the net income divided by the initial investment cost.
  • Capital Appreciation: The increase in the property’s value over time, contributing to the overall return when the property is sold.
  • Cap Rate: A commonly used metric in real estate to assess the investment performance of a property, calculated as the net operating income divided by the property’s current market value.

By separating management performance from investment performance, you can identify areas for improvement in property management and make informed decisions about the financial health of your investment.

First, it is absolutely crucial to unerrstand that turnover is in our view the most likely cause of rental investing underperformance if your resident selection process is sound. It’s a very nuanced issue that we cover extensively, invest in heavily, and dedicate a lot of resources to keeping as low as possible. Reducing vacany, first starts with reducing turnover.

We consider vacancy to be a real travesty. Despite the fact that they will likely fill the home much faster with the highest quality residents available by reducing the rate, and begin collecting income much earlier in the year, many landlords will let a home sit empty for some time to “get” a certain rate. That lost productivity has no economic benefit whatsoever for landlord or resident. Even worse, maintenance issues usually increase dramatically for homes that sit unused for a long period. So it’s the ultimate lose, lose, lose. There are strategic reasons to allow for vacancy. Seasonal issues play a role and we usually don’t want to fill a home much faster than 30 days as that would imply we underpriced it. It’s a delicate balance that usually requires in the trenches experience to parse out well.


Vacancy cost, also known as vacancy loss, refers to the financial loss incurred when a rental property is unoccupied and not generating rental income. It’s an important metric for property owners and managers to consider when assessing the overall performance and profitability of a rental property.

  • Lost Rental Income: The most direct cost associated with vacancy is the loss of rental income for the period the property remains unoccupied.
  • Marketing Expenses: Costs associated with advertising the property to attract new tenants, such as online listings, signage, and open house events.
  • Turnover Costs: Expenses related to preparing the property for new tenants, including cleaning, repairs, renovations, and any updates required to make the property more attractive to potential renters.
  • Utilities: Property owners may need to cover utility costs (electricity, water, gas) that are typically paid by tenants when the property is occupied.
  • Opportunity Cost: The potential income that could have been earned if the property had been rented out continuously.

To minimize vacancy costs, property owners and managers often focus on strategies to reduce turnover rates, quickly fill vacancies, and maintain competitive rental rates and attractive property features to appeal to potential tenants.

Here are some great tips on properly calculating what the vacancy will cost when you have to turnover a home.

Rental properties need maintenance. Apartments can quickly get run down. This will attract less tenants and affect your ability to collect top dollar market rent. The problem is that repairs, maintenance and upgrades can get expensive fast. How can you fix up an apartment complex while maintaining even cash flow? This article will show you how.


Most tenants have a good idea of what is the market rent for an apartment or a house. They have been looking at and comparing all of the available rentals – including yours. They will know if you are trying to get more than you should out of your rental.

Property owners, did you know that there are slow times of the year in the rental market? Rental properties can suffer from similar factors that affect the real estate sales market. Leases that end during ‘slow season’ times can take longer to rent and usually come with a lower rental rate.

This is actually a much more important topic than most landlords realize. Many let their personalities show through in the leasing and application process, and that is a very fast way to lose quality residents, while attracting the bad. Many landlords post ads that appear like outright rental scams, or set a harsh tone from the outset. Those are major issues that hurt the leasing process, but this haunts some landlords at every step of the process leading to higher than average turnover, vacancy, and below market rental rates. Here are crucial tips.

Get a free estimate on what rental rate to expect for your rental home

Get a Free Virtual Rental Evaluation Plus a Custom Cost Quote

General NC Lease Questions

This handbook is provided by the state of North Carolina, but is quite similar to the rules you’ll find in most other US states including Virginia and South Carolina. Use this handbook somewhat like a dictionary, but really use it! Put it in some safe, reliable place so you’ll be sure to have it when you need it!

Rental Accounting Questions

We provide comprehensive owner statements and cash flow statements on the last business day of each month. When packets are shared, you will receive an email notification and your documents will be available for download in your online owner portal. Additionally, our interactive portal offers detailed insights into rent collected and paid expenses for the month. You have the flexibility to generate a cash flow statement at any time through your portal, ensuring convenient access to up-to-date financial information

By default, we furnish cash flow statements and owner statements encompassing a comprehensive list of all expenses and income for the specified period. Should you require additional information or have specific preferences, feel free to contact your dedicated account manager. We’re more than happy to schedule a personalized chat to address your needs and preferences.

We utilize AppFolio Property Management software, renowned as one of the industry’s best property management platforms. In addition to this, we have supplementary internal resources and audits in place. Our meticulous approach ensures that rental income and expenses are accurately tracked and reported using cutting-edge accounting software, thereby guaranteeing transparency and precision in financial management

Our trust accounts undergo meticulous handling to ensure precise deposits and payables management. We conduct daily reviews of our accounts and implement a weekly reconciliation process to guarantee the safety and security of tenant and owner funds. Our accounting team stays up to date on Real Estate Trust Account Laws in each state we operate in.

Every statement differs but we can cover some basics here. Your statement will include all income and expenses for the property during the time frame. In the income column, you will see funds coming in, such as rent income and pet fees. On the expense column you will see all the money going out of the account which includes vendor payments, management fee payments to MoveZen, and owner disbursements. On the right hand side, you will see the balance during the course of the month. Your ending cash balance is the amount left in the account at the end of time frame. There is a bills due section at the bottom, this includes any bills that have been entered into the system but not paid out yet. You can expect the see those on your next statement but they will be on the top potion of your statement as being paid. The date on the statement reflects the date that the item was paid out and also includes details on how it was paid (E-Check, Check) and will include a description as well. We want to be sure our owners understand their statements, so please reach out if you have any specific questions about your statement this month.

Monitoring key metrics is essential for gauging the success of your property investment. One valuable resource we recommend is an article highlighting Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) crucial for effective property management. These KPIs provide insights into various aspects of your property’s performance, aiding informed decision-making and optimizing profitability. A particularly important metric to consider is your property’s all-time income and expenses. Regularly assessing these figures enables you to track financial health, anticipate cash flow fluctuations, and strategically plan for expenses such as turnover costs. By weighing these factors carefully, you can ensure the long-term success and profitability of your investment. A particularly important metric to consider is your property’s all-time income and expenses. Regularly assessing these figures enables you to track financial health, anticipate cash flow fluctuations, and strategically plan for expenses such as turnover costs. By weighing these factors carefully, you can ensure the long-term success and profitability of your investment. Link: https://www.buildium.com/blog/property-management-kpis-to-track/

Run Your Own Reports in Your Owner Portal!

When you log in to your portal, please see the tab on the left-hand side labeled “Reports.”

You can generate customized cash flow reports effortlessly. Whether you’d like to view income, expenses, or other vital accounting information, this feature allows you to run single-time frame cash flows or comprehensive 12-month analyses with ease.

Our report capabilities extend beyond cash flow tracking. You can also access detailed rent roll reports, providing information including rental amounts, lease dates, and more.

We’re eager to expand our report offerings in the future and would greatly appreciate your feedback on these reports. We will share your owner statement at the end of each month once everything is finalized, which will be available under the “Statements” tab of your portal. If you require a copy of your statement before month end, simply contact your account manager.

Absolutely. Your dedicated account manager serves as your primary point of contact. They can access resources from our accounting team or schedule you a one-on-one meeting with a member of our accounting division as needed. We’re committed to providing comprehensive support for all your investment accounting needs.

MoveZen Accounting Division will contact you via email once a tenant has been secured or funds have been received to request the information needed for taxes and direct deposit. This includes your U.S. mailing address, taxpayer name, taxpayer ID, bank account number, bank routing number, and bank account type.

We can hold reserve funds. However, the amount must clearly be outlined in your management agreement and the amount can’t differ from the amount we have. Because of this, it isn’t extremely useful. If you know that you have a larger repair bill coming up, we can hold your owner payments that way we have the funds to pay the bill once ready. We highly recommend allowing us to hold your tenants last month’s rent, that way we have funds for turnover expenses. This eliminates the need for you to send funds right back to us for vacant turnover repairs.

Currently, MoveZen Property Management does not offer services to directly pay HOA dues on behalf of our property owners. We advise owners to arrange these payments themselves to ensure full compliance with HOA requirements and to prevent any potential late fees or penalties. Many HOAs provide an auto-pay option, offering a hassle-free experience for managing these payments.

Our primary focus remains on the core aspects of property management, including tenant placement, maintenance, and lease enforcement, to deliver the highest quality service to our clients.

If you find yourself in a unique situation where you’re unable to manage your HOA dues, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re here to discuss your circumstances and explore potential solutions together.

MoveZen Property Management offers the service of paying property tax bills and insurance for multifamily properties upon request, and a copy of the bill must be provided. Please note, however, that this is not included in our standard management package and is not a service we typically provide for single-family properties or other types of real estate.

We understand that each property owner’s situation is unique, and we’re committed to providing flexible solutions wherever possible. If you have a special circumstance or need concerning your property insurance or taxes, we encourage you to reach out to us. We’re here to discuss your specific needs and consider how we might be able to assist.

​Should you change the ownership of your property, such as transitioning from personal ownership to an LLC, it’s crucial to inform your account manager immediately. The process to update your ownership information involves several key steps:
1. New Management Agreement: A change in ownership requires a new management agreement. Our sales team will contact you to facilitate the drafting and signing of this document.
2. Updating Financial and Tax Information: Following the agreement update, our accounting team will reach out to collect your new entity’s tax identification and banking details for direct deposit purposes.
3. Ownership Change Details: We’ll need specifics regarding the date of the ownership transition and any other updates (e.g., contact information changes).
Potential Fee: Please be aware that an ownership change may incur a fee, contingent upon the terms of your management agreement.
Prompt communication of these changes ensures that all legal and financial documentation, including your 1099 form, accurately reflects the current entity holding property ownership.

After initial onboarding and a detailed discussion about your property with your designated account manager, the next steps involve coordinating with our accounting division. Here’s how it works:

Accounting Introduction: Our accounting team will reach out to you for accounting-related information via email. For vacant properties, this step typically follows the successful placement of a new tenant. For tenant-occupied takeovers, we wait until the first rent collection. This timing allows you to familiarize yourself with your account manager before delving into tax and accounting details.

Tax and Mailing Address Information: You will receive an email with instructions for submitting your W-9 form, which we use to gather your tax identification and mailing address. We provide a secure method for uploading this document to ensure your information is protected.

Banking Details: Once your W-9 is processed, we’ll guide you through adding your banking information to your online owner portal, enabling direct deposit for your rental income.

To make this process as seamless as possible, we include preliminary accounting information and an FAQ with our request. Keep an eye out for our email, and know that we’re committed to making the setup as efficient and hassle-free for you as possible.

Absolutely, ensuring the security of your personal and financial information is paramount to us. After we’ve successfully onboarded your property and secured a tenant, our accounting team will send you an initial email.

This email will include a link to a secure platform where you can safely upload your W-9 form. Keep an eye out for this communication, as it will also contain detailed instructions on how to subsequently update your mailing address and banking information directly through your owner portal. We’re committed to making this process as smooth and secure as possible for you.

A fee for transferring property ownership to your LLC depends on the terms of your management agreement with MoveZen. An ownership change involves a significant amount of administrative work, which is not covered by our standard management package. Should a fee be applicable to your situation, it will be detailed in Section 37 of your management agreement, located towards the end of the document. We understand the importance of transparency in these matters and encourage you to reach out to us with any questions or clarifications you might need.

Owner contributions are typically requested for a few key reasons:

Onboarding Expenses: Certain contracts stipulate an onboarding fee due when our property management services begin. This fee is collected upfront to cover initial administrative, set up and marketing costs.

Repair Expenses: If your property requires repairs while vacant or if the cost of repairs exceeds one month’s rent, we will request funds to ensure timely payment to our vendors.

While these are the most common scenarios, there may be other instances requiring an owner contribution, such as additional fees upon the sale of the property or termination of our management services. If you receive a request for contribution and have any questions, we encourage you to contact your account manager for clarification.

MoveZen Property Management does not manage mortgage payments on behalf of property owners. There are several key reasons why mortgage payments fall outside our scope:

Financial Separation: We believe in maintaining a clear distinction between the operational income and expenses related to managing your rental properties and your personal financial obligations, such as mortgage payments. This approach ensures both parties can keep transparent and straightforward financial records.

Legal and Tax Implications: Taking on the responsibility of managing mortgage payments introduces complex legal and tax considerations. It could potentially increase the level of financial responsibility and liability for MoveZen, affecting our ability to serve you efficiently.

Complexity: Mortgage agreements are direct financial arrangements between you and your lender. Adding MoveZen as a third party to this sensitive relationship could introduce unnecessary complexity and potential for miscommunication.

These factors are considered with your best interests in mind, ensuring that we focus on delivering the high-quality property management services you expect from us without overcomplicating the financial aspects of your investment. If you have questions or need assistance with aspects of your financial management that relate to your property, we’re here to offer support and guidance within our scope of services.

MoveZen maintains a proactive approach to compliance with local, state, and federal regulations, ensuring minimal legal risks for property owners.

Here’s our strategy:

1) Many of our team members hold real estate licenses, and our independent account managers are mandated to possess their licenses. These licenses require annual updates and continuing education, keeping us informed about developments in real estate matters.

2) We conduct ongoing research to stay current with legal developments across all our divisions.

3) Our team includes trained accountants who adhere to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) and remain updated on any changes related to property management.

Your management fees will be outlined in detail on your management agreement which you can find under the “Documents” tab in your online portal. This can be found one page 1, section 3 labeled “Agent Fees”. Management fees (typically a percentage but can be a flat fee) are collected on all rent income received. Each time a tenant makes a payment, we deduct the appropriate percentage and the remaining balance goes to the property owner. The monthly management expense is taken from all rental income, which does include pet fees. Your management fee can be deducted while the property is occupied and vacant and this would be clearly outlined in that section. Lease fees will be outlined in the “Other” section if applicable. A lease fee is only collected from the tenants first month’s rent when we place a new tenant. We want you to understand your management fees so if you have any questions please contact your designated account manager!

MoveZen’s fees are transparently outlined in your management agreement, typically in section 3. Here’s a summary of the fees that may apply:

Management Fees: These are recurring monthly fees, which can be a percentage of the rent collected or a flat fee.

Lease Fee: This is a one-time fee charged when we secure a new tenant, typically deducted from the first month’s rent.

Onboarding Expense: This is a one-time fee due at sign-up.

Renewal Expense: Charged when renewing a tenant’s lease.

Additionally, there are fees that may be collected directly from tenants, such as late fees, HVAC fees, NSF fees, and others, outlined in the “Other Fees” section. Special services not covered in your management plan may incur additional fees, detailed in section 37 of your management agreement.

For potential clients, our sales division can provide further details on our fee structure. Current clients can reach out to their account manager for personalized assistance with any fee-related inquiries specific to their property.

Yes, the pet fee is indeed classified as rental income for you. It’s important to note that this fee contributes to the overall revenue generated by your property. As outlined in the management agreement, our fee structure involves deducting our management fee from the total rental income received. If you have any questions regarding our fee structure or income categorization, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our dedicated team for clarification.

It depends on your fee structure, but in most cases – no. Most properties at MoveZen have a percentage-based management fee which means we only charge our management fee based on what the tenant’s monthly rent amount is.

Management fees are only collected on the rent paid by the tenant. If your tenant pays 1/2 of their rent on-time (by the 5th) and the other 1/2 of their rent on the 8th (late) you will have 2 separate management fee charges for that month! We only post our management fees for the rent collected.

We facilitate owner payments through E-Check, securely depositing funds directly into your bank account. E-Check is quick, secure, and eliminates the wait for paper checks in the mail. We require your banking information in order to facilitate the direct deposit.

Owners have the convenience of securely adding or updating their banking information directly through their online owner portal once the accounting division has received the needed tax information. To provide your bank account details, simply log in to your owner portal. Once logged in, click on your email address located in the top right corner to access settings. From there, click on bank account settings to add your account, routing, and specify whether it’s a savings or checking account

We will hold prepayments in our trust account and the funds will be disbursed on a monthly basis. While rare, some tenants pay a full lease upfront and prepay 12 month’s worth of rent. In this case, we would hold those funds in our trust accounts and release the funds on a monthly basis as the charges become due.

Management fees are deducted from your rental income on a monthly basis as outlined in your management agreement. The specific fee is determined by the terms of your agreement. If you have any questions regarding fees for your particular property, please feel free to contact your dedicated account manager for further clarification and assistance.

Owner payments are calculated as follows: Total rent income collected for the month – management expenses – repair bills = monthly owner payment.

At MoveZen, we initiate owner payments approximately on the 10th, 17th, and 24th of each month. In cases where these dates fall on a weekend or holiday, payments will be processed on the next business day. If your property is occupied and the tenant pays rent on time (by the 6th) you should expect your payment to be initiated on the 10th. This time frame allows just enough time for the funds to clear on our end. If your tenant pays late, you can expect to receive your funds on one of our other scheduled payment dates depending on when the tenant funds clear.

Yes, you will receive an email notification whenever we initiate a payment, which will include the property address and payment amount. E-Check payments typically take 1 business day to process and reach your bank account. However, if you are a new owner or have recently made changes to your bank account, it could take 3-5 business days.

Our system will group all payments into one lump transfer; however, the email notification you receive when payment is initiated will itemize the payment, and your owner statement will include the specific amounts for each property. Rest assured, your accounting will be kept separate for each property.

The current month’s rent. We send out the rent the same month its collected. For example, when a tenant pays January rent on 1/3, those same funds are the dispersed to you around 1/10 after we deduct our management fee and any repair bills. Your funds don’t stay in our accounts for long and we try to get them in your bank account as quick as possible!

Unfortunately, we cannot expedite payments to owners before the 10th. At MoveZen Property Management, we are committed to ensuring timely and secure transactions for all our owners. It is essential for us to wait for tenant payments to be fully processed and cleared in our trust accounts before disbursing funds. This practice is in strict adherence to trust account regulations, protecting both our clients and our business from any legal and financial risks associated with premature fund releases. Thank you for your understanding and trust in us to manage these processes with diligence and care.

Absolutely! MoveZen Property Management can accommodate the distribution of rental income into separate bank accounts for properties with multiple owners. During the onboarding process, please provide us with the specific percentage of ownership for each co-owner or entity. Based on this information, we will ensure that rental income payments are accurately split and disbursed according to the ownership shares specified. Additionally, each owner must provide us with their tax information and bank account details separately. This allows us to create a unique owner portal for each co-owner, ensuring personalized access and management of their portion of the rental income.

Yes, MoveZen highly recommends letting us retain the final month’s rent to cover any anticipated expenses related to tenant turnover, such as repairs. This approach streamlines the process by eliminating the need to request a contribution from you. We will still provide estimates for all potential expenses for your approval. Having the funds on hand ensures that we can promptly schedule our trusted vendors once you give the green light.

Having the necessary funds in advance allows us to address any repairs swiftly, minimizing the time your property is off the market. Your account manager will proactively discuss this option with you if we anticipate significant turnover work. However, you are always welcome to initiate this conversation with them to ensure a hold is placed on your owner payments, facilitating a smooth and efficient transition.

Funds are sent out as soon as possible. We must allow time for tenant rent payments to clear the bank before we can disburse. If your tenant makes a late payment, or a partial late payment you may receive 2 payments. If you have a multifamily unit and any of your tenants pay late, you will have 2 payments as well. Late payments or late partial payments are the most common reason for multiple payments from us throughout the month. There are other reasons though! A bill could be entered that is holding your owner funds, and we may remove or adjust that bill (vendor invoiced incorrectly, or management fee bill adjusted) If this is the case, it may “free up” more funds on your account which can result in another owner payment. Your owner statement should always clear up any questions! Feel free to view those in your owner portal at the end of the month or request one from your designed account manager at any time.

Absolutely! If you’re planning renovations or anticipating a large repair bill such as a new roof MoveZen is more than willing to accommodate by holding your owner payments. This allows a balance to accumulate, ensuring you have the necessary funds when the time comes. Simply contact your account manager with your request, and we’ll take care of the rest, ensuring a seamless process for managing significant property improvements or repairs.

Please be aware that this arrangement does not apply to situations where a bill is currently due. For work being completed presently all necessary funds must be available upfront for large projects. In cases where the property is vacant, owner contributions are mandatory to cover such costs. For tenant-occupied properties, a contribution is required if the repair bill exceeds one month’s rent. This policy ensures we can meet financial obligations to vendors promptly, maintaining the integrity of your property and our relationships with service providers.

Yes, indeed! AppFolio has compiled a fantastic resource. You can find all the details here: https://www.appfolio.com/help/owner

You can login using this link. https://movezen360.com/rental-owner-portal/ If you are having trouble logging in, or need us to reset your password or phone number for two factor authentication – please reach out to your designated account manager.

You can make an owner contribution through your online owner portal by visiting the transactions tab and clicking “Make a contribution”. Login here: https://movezen360.com/rental-owner-portal/

We also accept mailed checks to our corporate office.

MoveZen Property Management
4002 1/2 Oleander Dr. Suite 1A
Wilmington, NC 28403

If your phone number has changed and you’re unable to access your owner portal due to the two-factor authentication (2FA) setup, please contact your designated account manager for assistance. For security reasons, Appfolio implements 2FA, which sends a code via text message when you log in. We can reset your 2FA settings to accommodate your new phone number. After the reset, you will be prompted to enter your new phone number the next time you log in, ensuring your account remains secure and accessible.

Absolutely! At MoveZen Property Management, we ensure that each co-owner of a property has individual access to an owner portal. To facilitate this, every owner is required to provide their email address during the onboarding process. An invitation to access their unique portal login will be sent out. This allows each co-owner to independently manage and view important information pertaining to their property.

For owners making online contributions through their portal, the following fees apply and are charged by the owners:

Credit Card Payments: A fee of 2.99% of the total transaction amount.
Debit Card Payments: A flat fee of $9.99 per transaction.
eCheck (ACH) Payments: Fees are waived by AppFolio during checkout.

Please note, these fees are levied by AppFolio, and MoveZen Property Management does not derive any profit from these transactions. The fees are intended to cover the processing costs for each type of payment.

At MoveZen, vendor payments are issued twice a month, around the 15th and the last business day of the month. Invoices are promptly processed upon receipt and entered into our system for payment. The bill amount is then deducted from the rental income funds on the date that the bill is paid.