Find some of the most frequent asked questions and answers

FAQ

We specialize in Single-Family homes, Town Homes and Condominiums.
This is the greatest fear of most new owners. We promise in writing not to do that. Ordinary maintenance and repairs of less than $500 are paid out of your account, and you will see this in your monthly statement. If we think a repair might exceed $500 and if we are unable to reach you, we may initiate repair work even if it is higher than $500 as stated in the management agreement; for the following cases: (1) the health or safety of a tenant is an issue; (2) the property will incur damage if immediate action is not taken, (3) In instances where there is only one option to consider. We will not leave a tenant waiting in 90+-degree heat without A/C or without hot water, or a leaking roof while we try to contact you for permission to do the obvious. Sometimes an owner will complain that we spent $585 (for example) when it was not an emergency. The simple explanation for this is that the company that went to the property charged a $85 service call (for example) to go out to the property whether they fixed anything or not. Therefore, instead of having the owner incur a $85 service call just for us to get an estimate and then having to send the company back out to do the repair and the owner having to incur another $85 service call, the owner saved $85 by having the repair done the first time. We always tell the maintenance companies to alert us if the repair is going to be over $500 or a specific amount depending the type of service dispatch. Sometimes the maintenance company may think that the repair will not go over $500, but after they get working on the repair, they find that there is more to fix than they could see before they started the job. It would not make good sense and it could be a safety issue if the company had to leave an air conditioner or dishwasher, etc. torn apart while we waited for your permission to okay the additional $50.00 (for example) and then the maintenance company could charge another trip charge on top of the extra money for the repairs. This would not be in your (the owners) best interest. Terra Point passes any discounts or coupons that contractors accept to the owner.
We don’t manage duplex, 4-plex properties or small condominiums with less than 2 bedrooms. We don’t manage commercial properties. We don’t manage homes with chronic repair issues or conditions that might adversely affect the health or safety of an ordinary tenant. An example would be a home with a rotted 2nd story deck that an owner “can’t afford” to properly repair.
Yes, We are licensed REALTORS®. We are members of: Better Business Bureau Houston Association of REALTORS® National Association of REALTORS® Texas Association of REALTORS® National Association of Property Managers
Renting homes is a merchandising rather than a selling effort. Many tenants find their homes by scrutinizing online information and pictures, the appearance of properties when they visit them and the ability to work with a reputable Management Company during their tenancy. We also acquire tenants through the Multiple Listing Service, Internet web searches, other Real Estate Rental Specialists, Military Housing Office, relocation networks, relocation companies, government organizations, diplomatic networks, and referrals from satisfied clients. WORD OF MOUTH / REFERRALS – We regularly receive referrals from our current and past tenants, friends of our tenants, and from other Broker’s agents. INTERNET LISTINGS – We have developed a web page, which provides information on rental homes to families that are planning to relocate into the Northern Virginia and Washington, DC area. Our properties are posted online through our HAR (MLS) and the top 75+ searched rental websites on the internet. LEASING LOCATORS – We make all of our listings available to all the top internet websites, our Real Estate Rental Specialist Network, websites searched by active duty military, relocation networks and unique real offerings. CORRECT PRICING – Even the best properties will not lease quickly if overpriced. We analyze the market to be certain your home is priced according to current market conditions. THOROUGH PREPARATION – The most desirable properties, priced well, will not lease quickly if they are not in top condition. Properties must show well and have “curb appeal”. We make sure your property is presented in a clean and attractive condition so that it will catch the attention of a good, qualified tenant. WE SHOW YOUR PROPERTY THROUGH REALTORS® – We have REALTORS® who have identified themselves as Rental Specialists. This professional network helps us show and lease our properties.
This is one of the most important aspects of the successful management of rental property. We look at an applicant’s past behavior and assume their future behavior will be the same. An applicant must demonstrate a history of being a good, responsible tenant as well as meeting our financial criteria. APPLICATION – After a prospective tenant has been shown a property and has expressed a desire to lease it, our Rental Application must be submitted. We require several supporting documents along with the application to help us verify information included on the application. They also must pay an application fee as part of the application. SCREENING – We utilize our software credit, background, eviction and criminal screening services as well as our own efforts to collect information needed to confirm and process the application. LANDLORD VERIFICATION'S – We utilize public information, tax records and other research and verification. SCORED RETAIL CREDIT REPORTS –Tells us the applicant’s current and past performance in meeting their financial obligations. It also tells us their monthly debt and shows their previous addresses (which we compare to addresses listed on the application). An applicant must have acceptable credit to qualify. EMPLOYMENT / INCOME VERIFICATION'S – We verify job title, job status, salary and prospects for continued employment. An applicant needs to earn at least 3 to 4 times the monthly rent in gross income to qualify for rental. EVICTION & CRIMINAL REPORTS – This additional application screening process helps provide us with criminal background checks. This is a level of scrutiny that most other property management companies do not perform. If accepted, the applicant’s in-processing includes a lease, lease signing, collecting pro-rated rent, and providing the tenants with a copy of any association documents needed for disclosure and instruction on rules and regulations associated with the property and community.
All leases are in writing and normally cover a period of one or two years. Longer leases are approved after discussion with the property owner. With the owner’s approval, during slower rental periods, we accept leases for less than one year in order to have the lease expire during a more active rental period. On occasion we may elect to place a tenant on a month to month or 6 month rental lease to accommodate sale of the property by the owner, a tenant’s pending departure, or moving the property into a more active rental period.
First, careful tenant selection protects your property from being rented to unqualified people. During the lease term, we may have occasion to enter the property for repair or maintenance reasons and will use that opportunity to examine the property. In addition, we will generally schedule a 6-9 month annual property survey walk-through to see how the tenants are maintaining the property. We make sure the air filter is being changed, that the smoke alarms have batteries and that there are no unreported problems at the property. We will also schedule a renewal survey when the tenant renews the lease. This protects both you and your property. The right for us to make routine inspections of the property is part of the lease agreement.
We give them an opportunity to correct the situation, and usually they will. If a problem persists, we will make a decision based on that specific situation.
If payment has not been made by the day after the rent is due, we send a late notice. We also send another late notice on the 6th – 7th day of the month. On the 10th of the month we order a sheriff delivery of a notice of non-compliance (eviction notice). Whether or not we eventually have to proceed with a formal eviction depends on the specific circumstances. It is usually financially better, for all involved, if a solution can be worked out. If the tenant has experienced a one-time event which caused them a financial hardship, and we have had no previous problems with them, we will normally give them a chance to catch up, if there is reason to believe they can do so. If the tenant has demonstrated an ongoing pattern of late payments, broken promises and/or evasiveness, eviction is usually the best course of action. Each case is unique, and we make our decisions based on what is best for you and the property in the long run. We always proceed with the legal notices required for eviction regardless of any other factors. We will simply postpone the actual filing of the eviction if the tenant is showing favorable effort toward resolution. Evictions can be a simple matter or more complex depending on the tenant cooperation. We retain an attorney to issue non-compliance notices and coordinate the eviction process to ensure it is done correctly and with proper professional representation on the Landlords behalf.
Our management fee is a percent of the monthly rent depending on the size, location, and number of properties. There is no monthly fee if the property is vacant.
Yes! We only send funds via ACH direct deposit. You can provide us your bank information for deposit through your online account and update it as it changes without delay to ensure we have the correct bank information for the deposit.
Responsible tenants are valuable assets to both of us. A satisfied tenant can bring us referral business and will be more inclined to care for your property as if it was their own. As the owner of the property, it is best that you avoid direct communication with the tenant and refer all inquiries to our office. We maintain a diplomatic relationship, between you and your tenant, through personal contact and in the form of our Property Survey Reports and announcements.
No. We use a contract that includes standard terms from our association locally and provide by the state along with additional terms to ensure we can comprehensively service your property. It is an elective contract with a 60 day cancellation at any time and we maintain our Service Guarantee throughout the time we work with you.
Yes! We have a clause in our agreement that provides us the ability to help you sell your home if you choose to work with us. We have an excellent track record of selling homes in less time than the industry average for more money than the industry average. We can help with all repairs and contract term requirements to make the process smooth and easy for you. We have an extensive marketing network and campaign and can coordinate the entire sale without you having to be present during any of it, including settlement. We make selling your home or asset an easy process.
We will be happy to invite them to join our vendor list if they are qualified and insured, but we cannot promise that a specific vendor will be dispatched to your home for certain repairs. We already have a stable of very qualified and reasonably priced vendors that we have used for many years. If a company you prefer wants to be added to our vendor list, they can contact us and we will interview them and let them know what documentation and references we need. However, we cannot guarantee that your favorite company will be sent on all service calls to your property. Our concern is always to resolve repair problems in the timeliest way possible with the best available vendor at the time. We cannot keep track of a pre-established roster of which vendors are assigned to certain properties – it would be very cumbersome and inefficient and would not achieve the best service to you, the tenant, or your property. Our professional reputation, with both tenants and owners, is largely, if not entirely, determined by how well we handle maintenance. Therefore, we follow a practice that is most likely to insure the best possible response and resolution to problems.
Tenants are required to submit all non-emergency maintenance repairs though their online account. Call us for emergencies. We have a rotational staff schedule in addition to a 24 hour answering service that will contact us after hours. After receiving a repair request, we will contact the tenant and ask them questions in order to help us determine the exact nature of the problem before sending a service technician. We make sure it is not something the tenant can fix themselves (ex: reset button on the disposal, tripped breaker etc.) before your money is spent on a service call. After determining that it is a legitimate problem, we will send the appropriate service vendor to make the repair. We tell our tenants that we are able to handle most repair requests within 1 to 3 working days, and, in fact, are usually able to do so. Comfort items such as air conditioning, no hot water or heat, receive highest priority and are usually attended to the same or next business day.
We believe that you hire a property manager to manage the property for you, not to assist you in managing it yourself. We offer a turnkey style of property management service which is most appreciated by those property owners who prefer to be “out of the loop” on all but the most important matters related to the management and leasing of the property. We don’t pester you with small details, questions, information or “updates” about your property or tenants, except for those matters which will have a significant impact on your monthly cash flow. Instead, we simply take care of the things you have entrusted us to handle on your behalf. We do however provide you an email notice for each maintenance dispatches to help account for expenses for the property during the month and also to inform you if there may a repair we will need your authorization to complete over our authorized amount.
We rekey every property when a new tenant begins their lease. We recommend that for the safety and security of your tenants and their families the following is done: Keyless deadbolts. Install a keyless deadbolt on every exterior door, including a door from a garage into the dwelling. A keyless deadbolt is not necessary on sliding glass doors or on doors that open from a garage to the outside. Keyed deadbolts. Install a keyed dead bolt or a keyed door knob lock on at least one exterior door. You don’t need a keyed lock on all exterior doors. You need a keyed lock on only one exterior door which is normally used for entry. That lock can be either a keyed deadbolt or a keyed door knob lock. Obviously, a keyed dead bolt is far superior to a keyed door knob lock because of its one-inch bolt. Door-viewers. Install a door-viewer (peephole) in the front exterior door. Pin locks on sliding glass doors. Ensure a sliding door pin lock on each sliding glass door is present. Security bars or door-handle latches on sliding glass doors. Install either a security bar (sometimes called a “Charlie bar”) or a door-handle latch that works, on each sliding glass door. You have a choice of one or the other. Window latches. You must have a window latch on each window. It can be the original latch or an after-market type. French doors. All French doors must have a threshold bolt and upper door jamb bolt (with a 3/4″ throw) on one door. The other door should have a keyless deadbolt and either a keyed deadbolt or keyed doorknob lock. Automatic door closers. You should have an automatic door closer on each hinged door that opens to the exterior of the property. Door closers on sliding glass doors are not required. We highly recommend them for safety and liability reasons. Spring-loaded door hinge pins seem to be the best and most aesthetic type of automatic door closers. Window screens. Window screens are recommended and all present at the property need to be hole and tear free. Rekeying at turnover. At each tenant turnover we rekey all keyed deadbolts and keyed doorknob locks on exterior doors if the doors can be opened from the outside by a key. We require owners to use our locksmith. Our locksmith re-keys the property to our key system and makes sure the locks and smoke alarms are up to code. Quick repair. You must quickly repair or replace a security device that you or your employees at any time discover is missing or not working–even if the tenant has not asked you to do so. Prompt response. We will promptly respond to legitimate tenant requests for re keying, repairing, installing or replacing–preferably within three days after receiving the tenant’s request, but no later than seven days.