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Property Management Blog

What is the easiest way to find a rental in Missoula?

Mary Hurd - Sunday, February 21, 2016

Rent smarter during your next move!

We know that finding quality housing housing in Missoula can be a laborious and somewhat daunting endeavour. It has always been our goal to implement the latest technologies to minimize the hurdles that make finding an apartment in Missoula so challenging.

We started out as the first property management company in Missoula to actively and consistently showcase walkthrough video tours on all of our property listings.  We understand that many of our customers reside out of area while conducting their search, this helps them determine if the property will be a good fit in ways that photos alone cannot accomplish. But the true benefit is this tool appeals to the masses, to those who may not be able to view an apartment in person due to school or work, or they can simply view the video to see if the property meets their needs enough to request a personal showing.

We were the first property management company in Missoula to utilize responsive website technology. We put our entire focus on technology that enhanced the user's experience in searching for their next home.

Rent Smart Property Management is pleased to announce two new features to enhance your search for a new home in Missoula. With our new website redesign, we now offer a "subscribe to listings" feature. Simply click on the "subscribe to listings" button on our available rentals page, enter your contact information and search criteria to receive an email notification when a matching home is posted.

Our next new feature is the implementation of an automated showing scheduler. By calling from your smartphone to the designated phone number on the listing ad, you will be prompted to press the # key to receive a complete set of listings delivered right to your device. From there you can watch video tours and select a date and time to view each property. To ensure that all household members meet our minimum criteria, you will be asked a few simple prescreening questions. This feature is available 24 / 7 and we believe this will help you get the answers you need right away. 

We would love to hear from you, when are  you looking to make a move to Missoula?

Best Property Management Company in Missoula?

Web Admin - Wednesday, October 01, 2014

It has been five years since we published our blog series, "Beyond the Basics, Questions to ask before you hire a professional property management company". As I am working on updating our website, it was fun to review our earlier passages. The first of the series was based on employee turnover and how that turnover can hurt the client, their property and their return on investment.

Five years later, we know just how crucial this issue remains.

One of the number one concerns we hear about when talking to a new client who is looking for a change in management is that their property management company had too much employee turnover. The client lost track of who to talk to or who was accountable for what aspect of the management of their property. The turn over was constant, and the company just got too large and couldn't stay on top of the tasks at hand.

Rent Smart Property Management of Missoula offers a safe harbor for these clients lost at sea. It has been a significant part of our growth and it has afforded great stability for these clients in need.

How can we help you today? Are you maximizing your return on investment? Do you know what the current vacancy rates are in Missoula? Contact us for a complimentary consultation. We enjoy talking to private landlords, investors and vendors.

Tenant placement services in the Missoula Area

Web Admin - Monday, March 03, 2014

Are you a DIY landlord with an upcoming vacancy?

Besides offering full service property management for the greater Missoula area, we also offer tenant placement services. We work with many DIY landlords who prefer to have the tenant screening and leasing process handled by a professional, yet they manage their rental unit after the tenant is placed.

Wonder if this service is right for you? Here are a few things to consider:

  • How current is your lease paperwork?
  • How familiar are you with Fair Housing Laws and recent lawsuit filings?
  • How do you document the condition of your rental property?
  • Have you ever had a dispute about security deposit deduction?
  • Does your schedule allow for fielding phone calls and conducting multiple showings a day?
  • How about your advertising program? How effective is it, and are you aware of the many scams taking place on Craigslist on a daily basis and how to prevent them?

If any of these questions may have struck a chord with you, we would like the opportunity to discuss your needs and show you how we can help expedite the process of placing qualified tenants in your Missoula investment property.

Please contact us today for a complimentary consultation and rental market analysis.  

Why you should hire a professional property manager

Web Admin - Monday, March 03, 2014

I came across this interesting article on Linkedin presented by Rentalcluster.com. It speaks directly to the tenant regarding the professional property manager vs. dealing directly with the landlord, who is better to deal with and why.

I found it interesting that the article, geared towards tenants, emphasized why DYI landlords could and should improve their bottom line by hiring a Missoula property manager to handle their investments.

For example, the article points out that tenants are likely to negotiate a better rent when they deal direct with the investment property owner, and that private landlords are likely to waive application fees, which tells me they are not running background checks putting their investment at grave risk. The article continues into the arena of pet policy, and states a "hard negotiater" would stand a better chance of getting their non-compliant breed approved by a private owner. This negotiating directly with the tenant so far is largely in favor of the tenant.

The article points to the favor of the professional property manager in the case of 24 hour maintenance, and professionalism in handling disputes.

If you are interested in learning how we can increase your bottom line and negotiate on your behalf, please contact us today for a complimentary consultation and rental market analysis.

Innovative property management solutions

Web Admin - Monday, March 03, 2014

Two years ago today, we announced the launching of property management company. We knew we wanted to do things a little different. We wanted to make it easier for tenants to apply, easier for out of state tenants to conduct their rental search, easier for tenants to execute their leases, we wanted to make it easier for tenants to maximize their security deposit refund, we wanted to be more proactive, and more thorough then our competition, we wanted to be more accessible to both our clients and customers. We have accomplished our goals.

We wanted to take on only quality rental properties, with owners who have the funds to make repairs and share our belief that quality tenants are attracted to quality properties. After all, that is what every landlord wants, is a quality tenant.

We wanted to keep our property management business focused in Missoula and immediate outlying areas. This would allow us to be more efficient by maintaining a smaller coverage area. We have had to turn down business in Hamilton, Stevensville, Florence and Huson. It would have spread us out too thin, and I don't believe we could service those areas with integrity.

We wanted to reduce vacancy for our owners and make it easy for prospective tenants to view properties. So, we created the walk through video. Our properties are available to view 24 / 7. We have leased out properties to out of state prospects based on the video alone. It is a very effective tool in reducing vacancy and putting our properties ahead of the competition.

We were the first firm in town to begin watermarking our photos to help prevent fraud. Others are now finally following suit, which is a good thing.

We knew that security deposit deductions are perhaps the most contested issue in a landlord tenant relationship. And if you ever had the opportunity to conduct a move out inspection with a tenant present, you are guaranteed to hear "It was like that when I moved in." It became clear to me, that no matter what was or what was not written on the move in condition report became irrelevent in the tenant's mind. They don't remember they made the gouge in the floor two years ago. They don't remember that the toilet bowl used to be white, not gray. They don't remember that you need to clean under the stove top. All they know is that they scrubbed and scrubbed and it looks better now than the day they moved in. So, it got me to thinking, that if I filmed the property, inside and out, right down to the window tracking, I bet this would be a real useful tool in reaching 100% objectivity at the time of move out. And you know what? It did.

On average, our security deposit deductions for additional cleaning expenses are only about 6% of the deposit. And do you know why that figure is so low? Besides the fact that we choose to manage only quality rentals, that attract quality tenants, largely, the tenants know they are 100% accountable. The video doesn't lie. It has been a great tool for maintaining good relations with departing tenants, and an even more effective tool in maintaining the integrity of our client's investment property.

These are just a few of the things we have proudly accomplished since launching two years ago. We can do the same for you. If you would like to learn more about our management philosophy and how we can manage your investment property in Missoula and increase your bottom line, please contact us today for a consultation and rental market analysis.

** UPDATE: As of July 17, 2014, our average security deposit deduction for cleaning was only 3.2% of the deposit held.

2013 Fall / Winter Interim Inspections

Web Admin - Friday, November 01, 2013

We completed our fall / winter inspections last week and overwhelmingly, the properties were clean, tidy and well maintained by our residents! This does not happen by accident. There are three things that come into play: #1 - Quality properties tend to attract quality tenants. #2 - Quality screening minimizes risk. #3 - Proactive property management nips problems in the bud.

A big THANK YOU to our Rent Smart residents for taking such good care of their homes!

Tenant screening

Web Admin - Monday, October 01, 2012

"What a nice couple" you say after meeting your new prospective residents. They are really interested in renting your place and want to give you the security deposit and pay three months rent in advance.

You have a vacant rental, and they are willing to write you a check on the spot, sounds like a win win situation, right? Not necessarily.

Little do you know, this "nice couple" just received a 3 day pay or quit notice for failure to pay their rent to their existing landlord. The clock is ticking and the eviction process has begun.

So, how would you find out?

There are alot of ways...

Collect a recent copy of their bank statement. This will show you a history of NSFs, it will have their current address listed, and you can try to identify rent payments made from the account to see how promptly they were made. It also shows deposits, which you can use to cross reference to their stated income.

Collect a copy of their photo ID, vehicle registration, and their most recent utility bill. All of these documents will list an address. Do the addresses match up to what they have reported on their rental application? Collect a copy of their paystub, that should also report their most recent address.

The most recent utility bill will show you if they are current, and, it will establish the accuracy of where they are currently living. This coupled with the next step should help prevent you from being scammed.

Take the address and enter it in the Missoula County Property Information System: http://www.co.missoula.mt.us/propertyinformation/#. This will allow you to verify if the property owner listed at the County matches the name of the landlord listed on their rental application.

Step 3, google the property owner to verify the number listed on the application is a valid number, and not the number of their friend posing as the landlord. I have had this happen countless times and saved my property owners thousands of dollars in lost rent.

And finally, you can take a drive by their reported current address and see if there is a for rent sign posted. Cross reference the phone number on the sign to the phone number they provide on the rental application, if it is by a private landlord.

If, however, the rental applicant reports that they are renting from a professional property management firm, you don't have to quite go through this level of detail, as we all provide rental references with a signed authoriziation from the tenant.

Does this sound like a lot of work? It is. But so are evictions, and they are far more costly.

Or, give us a call and let us take care of it, and all you need to worry about is improving your golf game.

DIY vs PROFESSIONAL PROPERTY MANAGEMENT

Web Admin - Saturday, September 01, 2012

The pros and cons of self managing your investment property explained in this infographic, compliments of All Property Management.


Let us lease up your rental property

Web Admin - Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Do you prefer to self manage your Missoula rental property, but simply don't have the time to dedicate to fielding calls, conducting showings, screening applicants and executing the lease documents? It can be overwhelming at times, especially if you already hold down a full time job.

Why not let Rent Smart Missoula professionally market your Missoula rental property? We will even compose a walk through video so prospective residents can view your property 24 / 7 from the comfort of their own home.

Our services include an aggressive online advertising campaign, accompanied showings, tenant screening, move in condition report and move in condition video and lease signing. We collect the security deposit and first month's rent, deduct our fees and turn over the funds and the documents and you take over from there.

We charge a flat rate for our service and there is no out of pocket expense to sign up.

Contact us today for a complimentary rental market analysis!

Avoiding Risk on Missoula's Craigslist

Web Admin - Thursday, July 26, 2012

We have all seen it. The perfect rental, walking distance to the University of Montana, and its listed at a ridiculously low price. There are photos, and the address checks out. You email the “landlord” they tell you to take a drive by, then if you like it, all you have to do is wire them the money and they will mail you the keys. Guess what? You have just been scammed.

These scammers poach actual Missoula home rental listings and re-post them as their own home for rent and pose as the owner of the property.

What Rent Smart has done to protect our investment property owners and our prospective residents alike, is we withhold the property address of our rental listings and only advertise a general neighborhood. Taking it a step further, we also water mark all of our photos with our company logo and our website address for verification.

Prospective rental prospects must contact us to obtain the address and schedule a showing. And, our practice puts the prospects at ease, knowing they are dealing with a local property management company as they are able to verify the listing on our website.

Since we have taken up this practice, our Missoula homes for rent listings have not been poached. We encourage all landlords to take up this similar practice so we can help shut down the scammers and protect the Missoula renter community.

If you are a private landlord and would like to learn how we can help you, please contact us for a complimentary rental market analysis. If you are a prospective renter, please subscribe to our feed to be notified of all new listings.

Rent Smart and deal local!


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