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How do I get started with House Match?
Marketing Your Property
Rental Price – How do we determine rental price?
The most important part of listing a property is to set the correct rental price. We use statistical data to make sure that we are pricing your property at the market rate. When properties are over-priced, they will not get many search results and it will sit on the market longer. We assess the market to be certain your home is priced appropriately for current market conditions.
Prior to placing a property on the rental market or renewing a lease, we do a comparative market analysis and determine the correct rental rate that can be charged. We actively monitor viewings and interest level to ensure we are at the right price.
After a property has been exposed to the market for one week without renting, we look into the possibility that the asking rent is too high. We will consider lowering the rent so that the property will not sit vacant.
Empty units cost owners money. Our properties average only 7 days vacant in between tenants. Industry average is 26 days.
Leasing Property - How will you advertise my property?
We use Appfolio to syndicate out to over 100 websites including Zillow, Trulia, House.com, Apartments.com, Realtor.com, Rent.com, Zumper, Craigslist and many others including our own www.housematchca.com
This is all included in our leasing fee. We will list on these sites, schedule and show the property on multiple days at different times to maximize exposure. Remember, our goal is to get you a GREAT tenant QUICKLY!
For our Platinum clients, we also list your property on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). We pay a $400 leasing fee to the agent who brings us a qualified tenant, whether the agent is from our office or from another company. This is the largest fee to another agent that I have seen in this area. This makes our properties very attractive to other real estate agents.
Rental Signs – How and when are they placed on the property?
Can you start managing my properties today?
Showings – How do you show the property?
We start showing properties once tenants give a 30-day notice in order to decrease the downtime between tenants. We are averaging less than 7 days between occupants. If the property is vacant, we use special lockboxes that allow the tenant to view the property on their own after going through a screening process. We get a copy of their driver license and verify information before they can receive a single use code. This leads to more showings and less vacancy, because prospective tenants can access the property if they call our office while driving by or if the pre-set showing times do not meet their schedule.
If a property is occupied, we offer several showings times to applicants to sign up online, at which time we meet them at the property.
Our guarantee to you
Finding Quality Renters
Rental Applications – What is the Process?
Once a prospective tenant has viewed the property, they can submit a rental application online through our application software.. The prospective tenant must also submit a nonrefundable Application Fee, which is retained by House Match to cover the cost of processing the application. A credit check, criminal check, and eviction check will be performed on all applicants over 18 years old as well as rental references and income verification. If tenant is denied, House Match will send the applicant an adverse action letter. If application is approved, House Match will send out a lease agreement and collect the Security Deposit for that property. No home is taken off the market until an application is fully approved and a security deposit has been submitted.
Can I Pick the Tenant?
We discuss with the owner at the listing appointment which factors the owner requires from their tenants. This would include if the owner will allow pets, how many, what type etc. Once these factors are determined and agreed upon, HouseMatch will approve the tenant for the owner, without the owner’s involvement, as it is in the owner’s best interest due to Fair Housing Laws.
Fair Housing laws in California are very strict and an owner might violate these laws unknowingly. An owner may have a preference for an older couple and discriminate against families with children. This is a Fair Housing violation and it carries large monetary penalties. All it takes is one Fair Housing complaint and you could be spending thousands of dollars having to defend yourself in court.
While your intentions might be good, most of our clients are not up to date on the specifics of Fair Housing laws. The best way to reduce the risk of a Fair Housing violation is for us to have clear, non-discriminatory, and written rental criteria.
We follow our policies and cannot work with owners who ask us to change our rental criteria.
We are seasoned pros at picking tenants and have a great track record. Picking a tenant should be a business decision to get the best-qualified tenant in the property.
We understand the urgency of getting back to qualified applicants quickly. Some of the great tenants may have applications in to several properties and will get approved elsewhere if we are not efficient. We process applications right away and work hard to get good tenants approved for the property so that they do not decide to rent another home.
For more information on Fair Housing laws
San Diego Housing & Community Development Services
California Department of Fair Employment & Housing
Equal Housing Opportunity
At House Match, we are committed to following all Equal Housing Opportunity Laws. We do not discriminate against anyone on the basis of Race, Color, Religion, Sex, Handicap, Familial Status, National Origin, disability, mental or physical, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, or Age. We take Fair Housing rules and complaints very seriously. We cannot accept any owner as a client who requests that we violate these laws.
Applications - How do you qualify tenants?
This is one of the most important aspects of the successful management of rental property. We look at an applicant’s past behavior as a good indicator of future behavior. An applicant must demonstrate a history of being a good, responsible tenant as well as meeting our financial criteria.
We pull a credit check and review the results looking at income, rental history, credit, employment, pets, and any other stipulations presented in order to make a good decision upon which tenant to rent to.
- Tenant Employment and Income Verifications
We verify job title, job status, salary and prospects for continued employment. An applicant needs to earn at 3 times the monthly rent in gross income to qualify for rental.
- Eviction and Criminal Reports
We pull a background check, which searches public records to verify eviction and criminal history.
- Credit Report
This is one of the most important factors in determining a tenant.
Average Credit Score (all Adults)
700- 850……………..……….……..Credit portion approved can still be declined for other reasons
650 – 699……………………………………Credit portion approved can still be declined for other reasons
600 – 649……………………………………Credit portion approved, but higher deposit might be required
550 – 599…….Declined unless credit is due to one issue must have strong income and larger deposit
300 – 549……………………………………Declined no exceptions
Order they are received is one of the criteria used when assessing two applications that are similar. Order of application is not the only thing that determines an application. If there is an application with marginal credit (600) going against an application with superior credit (800), the application with superior credit could get the property if all other determining factors were the same even if the 600 applied first. On credit, we have five areas that we compare credit score 700+, 650-699, 600-649, and below 600. If one person had a 660 and another a 680 we would consider both of those credit scores to be in the same category. The areas that determine if an application is accepted are credit score, income, rental reference, pets vs. no pets, application completion time. An application is not considered turned in until all required documents have been submitted. If one applicant applies, but we are waiting on the other adults living in the house to submit theirs, we cannot process the application until it is complete with all parties submitting. If someone applies but does not attach paper work with income or license, that application is not complete. The time your application is fully completed by all parties determines your time mark on the application.
- Landlord Verifications
We contact past landlords to verify rental history and ask detailed questions about the applicant’s past performance.
WHAT WOULD CAUSE AN AUTOMATIC DECLINE?
If we find eviction in the last seven years, unpaid balances due to landlords, credit score beneath 550, insufficient income, unsatisfactory references and recent or non-discharged bankruptcies. Unqualified occupants and pets can also be a reason for decline. Felonies of illegal manufacture or distribution of a controlled substance within the last 7 years, felonies resulting in bodily harm or intentional damage or destruction of property for example, “arson”, within the last 7 Years, or sexual related offenses for any time period.
WHAT WOULD CAUSE AN AUTOMATIC DECLINE?
Security Deposit – What are the requirements?
The security deposit is approximately one month’s rent and is collected when the tenant is approved to rent the property. The deposit is held by House Match. The funds are kept in a trust account. Within 21 days after departure, the deposit is returned to the tenant if all provisions of the lease agreement have been met. Payment for damage to the property, caused by the resident, is deducted from the security deposit to cover any cost of repairs. Any deductions from a deposit must be supported by copies of bills for the expenditure, or otherwise authorized in the Lease Agreement.
Lease Length – How long are your leases?
We require a minimum of a one-year lease, unless instructed differently by the owner. Sometimes a tenant will offer an owner more money for a shorter lease. Any lease under one year will only be given to a tenant with owner approval. All leases are in writing. Longer leases are approved after discussion with the property owner. At renewal, we may on occasion 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 such as the summer.
Lease length is always determined through consultation with you, the owner.
Occupants/Tenants - Who is on the Lease? What is considered a tenant?
Everyone who will be residing within the property must be named on the Lease Agreement. All residents over 18 years of age or older must submit a rental application for the property. Guests under 18 do not need to submit a rental application but if they are going to be living at the property tenants need to inform us of their name and date of birth. It is our Policy that anyone staying with the tenant longer than 30 days is no longer a guest but a roommate, therefore, if the person is Eighteen (18) years of age or older, he/she must fill out and submit our Rental Application for approval by House Match Properties. Tenant(s) must abide by the decision of House Match Properties whether another person or persons can be added to the Rental/Lease Agreement. Failure to do so may result in termination of their lease.
What Day is Rent Due Each Month?
Rent payments are due on the 1stday of each month and are considered late on the 2nd. If a tenant moves into a property during the middle of the month, the tenant will owe a full months rent for the first month, and the rent for the second month will be pro-rated. The second month’s rent is the one pro-rated, never the first month.
How Does the Owner Receive Rent Money?
We deposit your proceeds directly into your checking account with direct deposit. You do not need to worry about getting checks in the mail. Everything is done electronically. We will email you your monthly statements. Also you may login to our online portal to view your monthly statements. All former statements are kept in your owner portal so you can look back at statements for anytime period that you have been with House Match.
When do you disperse the owner’s funds and email the statements?
Rent money is deposited two business days after the fifth of each month and will be in your account within one to two days. During a normal month, you will receive a statement and the funds will be sent from our banks to your account on the 7th. Most people will see the money in their accounts on the 8thof each month.
Receiving your money on this timeline is contingent on the tenant paying rent on time. Rent is due on the 1stfor all tenants and late on the 2nd. If rent has not been paid by the end of the 2ndwe will call, email, and text your tenant to get their rent paid on time. We work hard at getting your rent on time so that we may pay you on time. We must wait for checks to clear and that is why we require they pay timely, so we have the necessary time in case the funds bounce.
What Happens if the Tenant does not Pay their Rent?
With our company, should a tenant not pay rent by the end of the 2ndday, we will call, text, and email them on the 3rd. On the 4thof each month, if it falls on a work day, we will post a three day notice on their door. If we have not received any response back from them and they have not paid rent by the 7thwe will call you and discuss continuing the eviction process.
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 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 or lease non-renewal is usually the best course of action.
Each case is unique, and we make our decisions based on what is best for you and the property in the long run. We always proceed with the legal notices required for eviction regardless of any other factors. We will simply postpone the actual filing of the eviction if the tenant is showing favorable effort toward resolution. Evictions in California are a complex legal matter and we need to make sure if we do go forward with an eviction, we do everything correct to minimize the time. A full eviction if done properly can be done in six to eight weeks. There have been cases where tenants have fought the eviction and steps were not followed correctly that have taken six months to evict.
The best scenario is to avoid accepting problematic tenants from the beginning. As of 2018, when this was written, we have not had an eviction on a tenant we placed in four years.
How much Security Deposit do you Charge the Tenant?
We require one months rent equivalent for a security deposit. In certain circumstances if tenants do not meet the single security deposit criteria, we might charge up to two months of equivalent rent. California law states that when renting an unfurnished property the maximum security deposit is two months of the rent and three months equivalency for a furnished unit.
Who holds the Tenant’s Security Deposit?
House Match Inc. will hold the security deposit in a Trust Account in accordance with State and California Department of Real Estate Commission guidelines. At the end of the lease agreement, the security deposit will be itemized and refunded back to the outgoing tenant. If there are damages that the tenant is liable for that portion of the security deposit will be transferred to the owner after move out.
What Condition Should My Property Be In To Rent?
Even properties in the most desirable areas will not rent quickly if they are not in top condition. It is good to avoid having to rent your home at a discount when you can do some things ahead of time to attract well-qualified tenants at market rate.
Properties must show well and have “curb appeal.” When meeting with you, we are happy to go over possible updates which will help get top dollar and attract good tenants. We have checklists for cleaning and require all properties to be in hotel-ready condition. We do not want a tenant moving into a dirty property because this will start the tenant off with a poor taste for your property. It is very important that the property is presented in a clean and attractive condition so that it will catch the attention of a good, qualified tenant.
It is very important to keep all keys secure. The keys for each property are locked in a steel wall cabinet and are assigned a control number (they are not labeled with an address). All keys that leave the wall cabinet are documented. Our locksmith provides us with five keys to each property. We rekey each property between every tenant. Rekeying between tenants is required by our company in order to make sure that no one has the key to the property when the new tenant moves in. We give three keys to the tenant and our office keeps two in the locked cabinet.
What type of properties do you manage?
We specialize in Single-Family homes with over 90% of our inventory being single-family homes. We also work with duplexes, town homes, and small apartment complexes.
What type of properties do you NOT manage?
We do not manage properties that are in substandard condition and those where the owner does not want to do any repairs to the property. These properties could adversely affect the health or safety of a tenant. An example would be the owner has water stains all over the ceiling and the roof is leaking but does not have the funds or want to repair this property. We understand funds can be tight for some owners but we do not want our tenants at any risk of danger from repairs not being handled. This creates a poor relationship with the tenant and could lead to more serious issues. We do not manage commercial properties.
What is your Leasing Fee?
Our leasing fee is 50% of one month’s rent. This covers everything from Taking Photos, advertising, showing the property, processing applications, drafting and executing a lease, and collecting deposit.
Do you have any other Administrative fees or other Service Charges?
There are certain services that to not fall within the scope of our Management Agreement for which there will be charges if the owner requests us to handle them. This could include selling the property, managing a rehab project,
For example, if an owner recently moved out of the property, forgot to bring in the trash cans and requested us to make a trip out to the property to bring them in. We can do this, but there may have to be a charge for this. Even the quickest task can take at least 1-2 hours with California traffic. Our goal is to not nickel and dime our owners and if we were doing a showing at the house that day we would not charge for this task, but our employees’ time costs us money and so we do have to charge when outside the scope of the management agreement
Pest Control – What is Your Policy?
Owners are responsible for all pest control in the first 60 days of a new tenancy. If the tenant has any pests, owners will pay to have the house treated. After the first 60 days, the tenant is responsible for some pest control. This would include ants, flees, roaches, spiders, and small mice. The owner is responsible for maintaining the residence in a reasonable rodent-proof condition and rectifying any condition that would allow squirrels, birds, etc… to enter and nest. Infestations of squirrels, skunks, rats, and other vermin, as they can cause damage to a property and can be a health risk to people. Infestations of this type are treated at the owner’s expense. This does not release the tenant from their obligation to keep the property in a clean and sanitary condition so as not to promote the attraction of rodents and or pests.
Pet Policy – Is It My Choice To Rent To Pets?
It is absolutely your choice to rent to pets or not allow pets in your property. Understand you can ban pets from your property but you cannot ban service or comfort support animals. If a tenant has a service or comfort support animal, it is not considered a pet and illegal to discriminate against them because of the animal.
No pets may be kept on the property without House Match Inc. written authorization. Our properties have restrictions on the number, breed, size, and type of pets. Birds, reptiles, rodents, and fish in aquariums larger then ten gallons are considered pets.
We highly recommend that you allow pets in your rental property considering 70% to 85% of today’s renters have pets. If you do not allow pets, it could double or triple the time that it takes to rent your property.
Tenants are liable for any damage caused by their pet. If an unauthorized pet is found on a property it can result in eviction and/or numerous additional charges and fines. We take un-authorized pets very seriously.
Evictions – What is the Process?
The eviction procedures are initiated against the tenant if they have not paid their rent on time or have not remediated a lease violation after being given notice like illegal pet on property. On all leases that we create, rent is due on the 1stand late on the 2nd. We do not initiate late charges until the 3rdof each month and will post three-day notices on the door on the 4th. If a three-day notice is given to the tenant, they must pay the full amount of rent or if the notice is given for a violation of the lease they must fix that violation. For example, illegal pet must be removed from the premises.
After the three day notice has been posted, if the tenant still has not fixed the problem, then we will hire an eviction company involved which will file an unlawful detainer and continue the process.
Legal fees and filing fees for an eviction usually cost between $700-1500. This is dependent on how far the eviction goes and if you have to have a lawyer represent you in court.