7 Critical Mistakes Rental Property Owners Make: How Many of Them Are You Making
Are You Frustrated because your rental property is sitting VACANT for months,
and your Property Manager doesn't know what to do?
Being Overcharged by Handymen, Plumbers, and AC Repairmen?
Sick and Tired of “Dealing with Tenants" who don't pay and tear up your
These three issues (to name just a few) usually plague
rental property owners like yourself, on a regular basis.
After all, if you are like most real estate investors who
live out of town, (maybe even in another state) you can’t just jump in your car
and drive over to the property. You have to rely on your property manager or the
tenant to act in good faith. And we both know this doesn’t always work out in
(Brief Video discussing how we can help you)
Before we jump right into this Free Report, let me tell you a little about
My name is David Lowrey, and I am a real estate investor and owner of
Stress Free Property Management here in Tampa, Florida.
Over the last 12 years, I have managed over 1,873 houses, apartments, and condos
in the Tampa Bay area
Therefore, I have managed every type of rental from low income duplexes, to
middle class single family homes, all the way up to ultra luxury executive
mansions. Which means, I have experienced just about every conceivable
problem (in property management) you can throw at someone, and I’ve managed to
successfully get the job done. In fact,
my first property management company made Inc Magazine’s “Inc 500 List” for the
privately owned companies in America, in 2004 and 2005.
After eight years, my business partner, Chris Mercer and I, sold that business
to a national company. We decided it was time to relax…but unfortunately,
we got extremely bored. (I did at least try golf -- even bought the clubs
and shoes) So, we started another company: Stress Free Property
Here We Are A Little Over
Three Years Later, Managing Over 322 Rental Properties
In The Tampa Bay Area
And I am back doing what I love: managing rental
properties. Which I’m sure you would agree is quite an odd profession.
I think I’m a part of a dying breed of individuals that actually enjoys managing
Obviously these experiences as a real estate investor and property manager have
taught me some extremely valuable lessons. Most of them I will discuss
with you in this free report.
So what do you say we dig into the Free Report now, and I will show you how to avoid as many of
the 7 critical mistakes as possible. I will also give you some
to each of them.
Costly Mistake # 1 -
Allowing a property to sit vacant for 3, 5, or even 7 months,
for a good tenant to come along.
Let me assure you about one thing when it comes to finding a good tenant:
Hope…Is Not A Good Business Strategy!
I see this mistake all the time. So
let me give you my “cardinal rule” for property management:
IF your property is sitting
vacant for more than a month, there is at least one thing WRONG that must be
fixed, and I have NEVER found an exception.
And YES, this is true even in today’s economy.
The first and most common
issue is the rent is just too high and has to come down a bit. Right now,
tons of people are sitting on empty rental properties, because they’re trying to
find a tenant to pay a rent high enough to make their mortgage payment.
These owners are
understandably reluctant to rent out their beautiful home at a loss, each month.
Pulling money out of a savings account to make up the difference between the rent
and the mortgage is not anyone’s idea of fun.
The unfortunate reality is we
are in a down cycle of the real estate market. The foreclosure crisis (in
the Tampa Bay market) has caused rents to temporarily
drop $100-$200 a month, in every
Therefore, it’s critical
your rental rate is competitive with similar properties in the surrounding area.
Your property manager
must give you:
An honest, No B.S. Assessment Of Market Rent
In other words, how much
can you realistically rent your home for in the next 30 days? And by the
way, you should be willing to drop the rent a bit below that price (if
necessary) to start getting cash flow rolling in.
Without question, in this
economy, renters will negotiate rent. And the reality is, the property
owner who is flexible will get the best tenants for the longest amount of
Look, I know this is not a
popular topic to discuss. After all, who likes to talk about getting less
money? However, I’d rather have you know this up front rather than after
your property has been sitting vacant for six months, because the rent is too
I’ve routinely seen rental
homes sit vacant for being just $50 a month
more than the going rate for similar homes in the
neighborhood. So it’s extremely important you get this right.
The second common issue is
something goes wrong inside your rental, after it was painted and cleaned. Let me tell you a strange story about this.
One month, there was a
cat in the driveway of one of our available rentals.
We were wondering
why tenants weren’t putting in rental applications,
after they looked at the house.
So, one of us got into our car
and drove out to see what was wrong –
a very good technique by the
way. Sure enough, once we removed the
“dearly departed,” the house rented within 2 weeks.
Or sometimes, bugs will
suddenly show up. Not to be gross but a few dead roaches on the floor will
scare away just about anyone. Other times, the roof, toilet, or sink might
suddenly start leaking, and anyone who visits starts wondering
might be wrong with the home. So, they pass
on your rental property because they think if the owner missed these “obvious”
repairs, it is just the tip of the iceberg. In their mind, there is
probably a hell of a lot MORE things wrong, they can’t see.
The key is to get feedback
from tenants after they look at your rental, so you can spot this stuff early
and fix it. We are
constantly quizzing tenants who visit one of your properties to find out why
they didn’t rent. Based on their
feedback, we make any necessary repairs to your rental, immediately. For
example, the carpets may need to be steam cleaned again, because some stains
showed back up, or the maid needs to clean the bathroom again, because she
forgot to wash down the tub. You get the idea.
Although this may sound
very simple, this is extremely uncommon in the property management industry.
Most property managers don’t own rental properties of their own, and therefore,
haven’t had the painful experience of
rental property sitting vacant because of
one of these issues.
Regardless of the reasons,
we have learned (the hard way) that well over
65% of all tenants who look at a
typical rental property, are turned-off, instantly. They are turned off because either the rent is
too high in comparison to similar properties in the neighborhood, or one or more
things are wrong inside the home, like bugs or leaks. Think about it,
haven’t you experienced the same negative first impression, looking at places to
rent when you were younger?
We have learned to
carefully and objectively research the real world, rental rates of properties we
manage for our clients. We check online and in newspapers to see what
properties are currently available for rent, in a specific neighborhood or zip
Our goal is to find 4 or 5
similar properties so we are comparing apples to apples. If you price your
rental $75 above what other similar properties in the neighborhood are priced
at, it will sit vacant… a long time.
Is it a bit more
complicated than this? No, not really... However there are a large
number of things inside your rental that need to be checked carefully so tenants
are not turned off.
We also carefully inspect your home with our unique 67 point “Ready to Rent”
This checklist was
developed from years of trying to figure out why certain homes rent quickly and
others do not.
My inspection staff checks
everything, from ensuring the closet doors are hung properly in the bedrooms, to
looking under the sink for any water leaks. It is vital we are thorough,
because each of these 67 areas will either offer a positive or negative
impression to tenants.
My operating philosophy
is if my mom
wouldn’t be 100% satisfied with the
cleanliness and condition then the rental is not ready to rent.
However, the average
property manager or landlord often just does the
minimum to get a house ready for rent. This is a
mistake and results in the property sitting vacant for months, and eventually,
renting to a lower quality tenant, who typically pays the rent late and doesn’t
take care of the home.
Mistake # 2 -
Your Property Manager is not responsive to people calling about renting your
Here is what I mean by that statement: Let’s
face it, finding quality,
responsive professionals in any service
business is an up-hill battle. And in today’s economy, your property
manager BETTER be hungry for business, answer their phones, and
return messages quickly, OR people will go elsewhere.
Here is the simplest way to find
out if your property manager is responsive to tenant inquiries: Call them up at
different points in the day, and see if they actually answer the phone.
If You CAN’T Get The Property Manager On The Phone (Consistently) Neither Can A
Possible New Tenant!
Let me put it this way: if
more than half the time your phone calls (to your property manager) go straight
to voicemail, you are losing a boat load of
tenants that could have rented your property. Why? Because
when a tenant calls in to get information, they are in the mood, RIGHT NOW, to
get some answers and go look at places to rent!
When that voicemail turns
on, half these people just hang up the phone and call the next landlord on the
list. You just potentially lost your next tenant,
and your home continues to sit vacant, with cash
flowing OUT of your wallet instead of INTO it.
And here is an even
scarier thought: If your property manager cannot
be counted on to answer their phones consistently, can you
count on them to put up rental signs?
Or run quality classified ads? What about doing proper background checks,
or making potential new tenants feel valued and important?
What I am trying to say is
(as I said earlier) when someone is doing a couple of things wrong…they are generally doing loads of things wrong.
And, there is no way you’re ever going to know because you’re not there.
You live out of town. You can’t easily check up on them, and therefore,
they have no real accountability to you.
Obviously, the solution to
this problem is pretty straight forward: Find a
Property Manager that enthusiastically responds to tenant inquiries!
At our company, we answer
well over 94% of all calls within the first 3 rings. I know this because I
check periodically to see how many calls go to our voicemail on a given day.
However, we have also
created a very special system for specifically handling tenant calls.
We call this system our “11 Hour Straight Talk”
We have dedicated cell
phone numbers on all of our advertisements. This way, any person calling
about renting your home reaches my leasing staff, directly from 8:00am till
7:00pm. Let me emphasize that after we
close, my leasing staff continues to answer these tenant calls or return
messages until 7:00pm, 7 days a week.
The bottom line is that
you are not losing tenants because your property manager is closed at 5:00pm or
unwilling to answer calls on the weekends.
Costly Mistake # 3 –
You are Falling prey to unscrupulous or inefficient repairmen.
If you have owned your property awhile, I am sure you remember
the annoyance of being over charged by
one of these guys.
For example, your Plumber shows
up to fix your leaking toilet, charges you $75 to drive out, $85 to fix
the toilet, and $35 in parts for stuff that costs $8 at Home Depot. OR…
Your AC repairman comes out to
fix your system. And after just 20 minutes of looking over your AC
unit, he tells you it can’t be fixed,
and you need a brand new system. You’re left wondering if he is really
looking out for your best interest… or his own.
Does any of this sound familiar? After a couple of years
of experiencing this type of service, I decided to do something about it.
Our own 24/7 Zero Overhead Repair Service
We went searching for and found electricians, plumbers, and AC
repairmen that are 1 or 2 person businesses. They are licensed and insured
and operate out of their work trucks. There is no office space, fancy
trucks, expensive advertising, or employees, so their over-head is next to
These guys constantly suffer from inconsistent business: a
typical “feast or famine” cycle. So when they find us, we give them steady
work which smoothes out that annoying problem. In other words, we can
instantly fill 50%-75% of their time, and they never have to spend any
advertising dollars to keep this business. We simply insist they do
quality work, and our clients receive discounted rates.
For example a typical electrician might charge you $125 an
hour, $75 trip charge, and a 300% markup on parts. On the other hand, our
electrician charges us $40 an hour including the time it takes to drive to your
property and zero mark-up on parts. He comes out ahead because he is NOT
just fixing your house that day. We have also given him one or two other
electrical jobs at other properties.
Keep in mind, the electrician we hired spent no money on advertising,
office rent, receptionist, or any of the other significant costs.
Therefore, he is earning more “take home” money compared to the electrician
working at a large electrical company, with far
less headaches. Can you see how this would work for him (and you),
in a positive way? The net result is:
Your Cost To Repair Electrical, AC, Or Plumbing Issues Is At Least 50% Less Than
You Will Pay Working With Other Property Managers
Our ballpark estimate of what our typical clients saves in
repair costs is $875 a year per property.
More importantly, you typically don’t need to hire an
electrician, plumber, or a contractor for minor repairs.
A well trained, responsible handyman can easily
handle 80% of repairs that typically come up. Our company actually
has 4 of these handymen on our payroll. You end up saving even MORE money
on these types of repairs.
For example, any handyman (worth is salt) knows how to quickly
repair broken or leaking toilets and sinks. You don’t have to hire a
plumber for that kind of stuff. If you do, it is simply an overkill and
much more expensive. It’s like visiting the emergency room for a migraine
headache and getting a prescription. The visit would probably cost you
around $700 while your neighborhood walk- in clinic could provide the same thing
Obviously, any type of serious repairs will be handled by our
licensed and insured plumber, AC tech, electrician, or contractor. But,
the fact of the manner is that most repairs are minor and do not fall in that
Be leery of any property management company that just hires
repairmen from large companies driving fancy trucks. You end up “paying
through the nose.” The property manager is paying
top dollar to companies with
huge amounts of overhead.
Not to mention, these repairs are being completed by an over
qualified technician, which (more often than not)
could be repaired by a competent handyman, at a
fraction of the cost.
Costly Mistake # 4 –
Your Property Manager Doesn’t Own Any Rental Properties,
therefore, doesn’t share your perspective
This is THE ONE question you must ASK before you even
think of hiring a Property Manager.
I am sure you would agree, if I haven’t “walked in your shoes” as a property
owner, how can I understand your
pressing need to find a good tenant. Or just how vital it is to keep
maintenance costs reasonable?
It’s like asking a guy for parenting advice, who is a 40 year
old, confirmed bachelor…He just doesn’t have your frame of reference.
Did You Know That Most Property Owners Are Losing At Least $1500 A Year Of
Income On Each Rental Property...
which could have (just as easily) went into
their wallet. Why? Because of lack of urgency of their
property manager -- who has never owned more than one or two rental properties
in his life (if that many). He or she just
doesn’t understand the need for
passionate attention to detail in marketing, screening for good tenants, or
finding high quality, inexpensive repairmen.
My business partner, Chris, and I live these issues everyday
with our own rental properties. We own over 20 single family homes.
In order to meet our mortgage payments, property taxes, insurance, and repair
bills, we had
to figure out how to solve these problems, and do so quickly.
In fact, it is from learning
how to make our own rental properties profitable that we developed our
marketing, tenant screening, and maintenance systems. These systems
now form the core of our business: Stress Free Property Management.
Without question, there is nothing like the
necessity of having to pay over 20
mortgage payments each and every month to provide
desire to get better and better, as a
Costly Mistake # 5 -
Not Working with Someone with a Systematic Process for attracting a “constant”
stream of quality tenants
Gone are the “good-old days”… of just throwing out a rental
sign in the yard, on Wednesday, and the home would be rented by the end of the
weekend. There is just
too much competition out there, at the moment.
Let’s Face It, Finding Quality Tenants Fast, In This Economy, Is Extremely
If it was easy, you and I wouldn’t be having this conversation.
There is no way anyone can successfully manage properties --
especially a large volume of properties -- unless they have a proven system for
finding quality tenants quickly. My business partner and I have spent the
last 12 years creating, testing, and refining our marketing system. We
call it our “Instant Tenant Attraction,”
and it generates 5 to 7 times the amount of tenant calls as the traditional
rental signs on the property and ad in the newspaper.
Let me discuss a few of them now, but keep in mind, all these
methods are trade secrets that my competitors would love to learn.
Therefore, I obviously can’t reveal all my strategies so I will only highlight
a couple of them.
1) We generate
532% more responses than a newspaper ad using a little known but highly
effective website for advertising rentals. I know this sounds
unbelievable, but we have tested this over and over again, with the same
results. Nowadays, tenants simply prefer looking for rentals online,
rather than the newspaper (as evidenced by many newspapers, around the country,
struggling or going broke recently).
2) A rapid process
for qualifying good tenants, and getting them to put down a deposit on your
rental, quickly. Most managers take 3 or 4 days to approve a rental
application. By that time, the tenant has often found something else.
Now this is not to say that we
aren’t being picky, WE ARE. For example, we have found that about
30% of tenants are lying (a little or a lot) on their rental applications.
They might use their friends as their landlord or employer, give a false social
security number, or are currently under eviction at their present address.
There are dozens of scams that horrible tenants use to try and slip under the
radar, and move into your home.
However, the reason we focus on completing the background
checks for a possible new tenant -- within 24 business hours -- is
extremely important. When you think about it, the tenant is still out
there… looking at other properties. IF he or she appears to be a quality
tenant, we want them off the market by signing your lease,
sooner rather than
At last count, we had over 17 different methods for attracting
quality tenants. This stuff took years
of testing and refining all sorts of ideas, to find the ones that actually work.
Costly Mistake # 6 -
You hired a Realtor, who sells homes for a living, rather than a Property
If you stop for a moment and think about this, most realtors
(in fact most people) do not enjoy being property managers. In fact, if
someone didn’t choose to specialize in
property management, he is in affect choosing to do it part-time.
Therefore, how good can he possibly be? It’s kind of like an accountant
selling mortgages, or a high school teacher selling life insurance on the side.
Not to mention, if someone is just doing something to pay their
bills, when their regular income is slow, what happens when their business picks
up? You would have to think your property would become less of a priority,
Sadly, for most realtors, who dabble in property management,
this is exactly what happens. He or she is really only passionate about
writing contracts and collecting BIG
Commissions, from selling homes and NOT renting them.
No question, Realtors are happy to rent out your home,
BUT there is a big temptation to just
put the first “live body” that comes through the door. It is a lot of work
to market your rental effectively, answer phone calls, and do
checks. Not to mention, all the work servicing your tenants, once they
When you think about it, most Realtors’ long term success is
not based on your rental property performing well. Selling houses is
really what their after.
When you are dealing with
someone like us, we have the same “vested” interests. I want to
rent your home quickly, to a good tenant, because that’s the only way I make
money. Our focus is not selling homes, but managing rental properties
(like yours) for the long haul.
This is what has made us so successful, and it is why 99% of
our property owners remain our clients, year after year.
The end result is you get a property management specialist who
breathes this stuff as their
rather than a typical realtor just managing homes, until sales pick up.
Costly Mistake # 7 -
Paying Unnecessary Fees to your Property Manager
• A Set-up/Processing Fee of $250-$400
simply to set up your rental property in their computer system? To be
blunt, this fee is completely bogus.
In the real world, it only takes about 5
to 10 minutes to type in your information into the computer. Okay, to be
fair, it might take a few more minutes to pull out a filing folder, label it,
and put the management agreement into it, but that 15 minutes of work doesn’t
justify this fee.
• Charging the Leasing Fee UP FRONT –
This practice is absolutely absurd. Normally, all management companies
earn 50% to 100% of the first month’s rent, to find you a qualified tenant (i.e.
leasing fee). This fee should only
be paid once they do (in fact) find you a quality tenant. NEVER pay this
fee in advance, because there is no incentive for the company to make the extra
effort to find a great tenant quickly.
• Advertising Fees of $500-$700 to “market” your
rental – The bottom line is this should be a cost of doing business for
the property manager (not you). You shouldn’t be charged a dime for this.
It’s like going into a grocery store, and the check-out clerk tacking on an
extra 15% “advertising fee,” once she rings you up. It just doesn’t make
Here Is What We Are Looking For In A GOOD Client
And Rental Property:
1) The rental must be in a decent blue collar or middle class neighborhood (or
better). I will consider a house in a working class neighborhood, but only
on a case by case basis.
2) The rental must either be a single family
house or a Newer condo. While we love managing older single family
houses, we would prefer only managing condos built after 1980.
3) We are looking for property owners with a
reasonable expectation of rent. For example, if you have a house
with a fair market rent of $1,200, but you feel it’s a McMansion and should rent
for $1,800 a month…we probably are not for you.
If you want to find out if your property qualifies to have
Stress Free manage it, fill out our online
Property Owner Inquiry Form in just a moment.
After you submit your application, my assistant,
call you within 1 business day (usually sooner) to set-up an appointment to
speak with me on the phone.
By setting up an appointment, we both can
concentrate on your unique situation, so
I can answer all your questions without interruption. Fair enough?
Just to recap, any property owner that uses
our management services receive the following:
1) 67 point “Ready to Rent Checklist” -
This will ensure the property is properly cleaned, painted, and all necessary
repairs are completed PRIOR to putting
the property on the market for rent. As I mentioned before, this is the
number one reason why properties sit vacant for 3 to 7 months, instead of 30
($764 Average Savings By Renting
Your Home Faster)
2) “11 Hour Straight Talk” – My trained
leasing staff answers calls from prospective tenants from 8:00am to 7:00pm
Monday-Friday. They even answer the majority of phone calls from
11:00am-7:00pm on the weekends.
($575 Average Savings By Getting A Qualified
Tenant Out To See Your Home Quickly)
3) 24/7 Zero Overhead Repair Service –
80% of repairs that may arise will be handled by 1 of our 4 well trained
handyman at a fraction of the cost of hiring your typical repairmen out of the
yellow pages or newspaper. When we need to hire a licensed electrician,
plumber, or AC tech, we have already negotiated extremely low rates by finding
the folks with no overhead, and giving them a ton of repeat business.
($875 Average Repair Savings, Annually
on Each Property)
4) “Instant Tenant Attraction” System –
Developed after 12 years 2,138 + tenants. This advertising system
generates 5 to 7 times the amount of
tenant calls, compared to traditional rental signs and ads in the newspaper.
Even better, you don’t pay an extra dime for all the extra advertising we
perform to find you a good tenant.
($550 Average Savings By Getting A Quality
Tenant Much Faster)
5) No Unnecessary Fees – you DO NOT pay
an advertising or set-up/processing fee. You don’t (in fact) pay us
anything up front. We get paid only after
we find you a good tenant and collect the first month’s rent from them.
“Paid for Performance” is the way it should be.
($300-$800 Value Compared To
These 5 different programs and guarantees are provided to all
of our property management clients. You can’t find a SINGLE competitor
offering this level of service or guarantee, anywhere in the Tampa Bay area.
If these are the kinds of control you want to have in place…if
you want a property manager to take charge and get the job done, then the next
step is to see if the properties you own are a fit for us. The most
effective and efficient way we found is to fill out our Property Owner Inquiry
Yes, David, I would like to stop all the headaches and negative cash flow.
Let me complete your Property Owner Inquiry Form now. (Click Here)
Okay, that about does it for this Free Report. I hope you
enjoyed reading it, and learned some valuable insights about the most common
mistakes property owners make.
Owner of Stress Free Property Management
4501 E. Columbus Drive
Tampa, FL 33605
P.S. - Our Fees: I like to
be upfront with them so you don’t have to guess or wonder.
• 10% of the rent collected
monthly, as a management fee. There is no management fee if vacant.
• A leasing fee of
50% of the first month's rent, when we rent your
property to a qualified new tenant.
• That’s it. There are no set-up fees, cancellation fees,
advertising fees, or any other hidden fees that are so often
not mentioned, unless
you read the fine print.
• You also receive the benefits of our:
• 67 point “Ready to Rent
• “11 Hour Straight Talk” Process
• 24/7 Zero Overhead Repair Service
• “Instant Tenant Attraction” System
Yes, David, I am looking for a property manager to end the headaches and
negative cash flow. I would like to set up a time with you to discuss my
property. (Click Here)