Owner FAQs

Answers to your Common Questions

Are you considering a change in management for your Missoula investment property, or maybe you are just beginning your search to purchase investment property in Missoula. This is a great place to start. Below are some basic questions you should ask any of your prospective property managers during your interview process.

  • Q. What should I be asking when I interview a property manager?

    A. Looking for a property manager and don't really know where to start? The most obvious question, "How much do you charge?", shouldn't be your deciding factor when you consider three other questions that are equally, if not more important to protecting your investment.

    #1. How many evictions have you had over the past three years?

    #2. What are your rent collection statistics?

    #3. On average, what percentage of the security deposit are you refunding to your departing tenants?

    Your Missoula rental property is likely to be one of your most valuable assets and renting is fraught with risk. You want to hire a seasoned professional who has proven statistics where it matters most.

    The property manager you are interviewing could be the cheapest in town, but without proven systems to successfully place responsible tenants, who pay on time, abide by their lease agreement, and leave the residence in good condition when they vacate. The money you save by going with the cheapest manager can end up being the costliest choice of all.

    Legal fees, unpaid rent, damages that exceed the security deposit, lost rent due to time consuming repairs. These are all potential consequences of selecting a property manager on price, alone.

    By the way, our answers:

    #1. ZERO for any resident we have placed.

    #2. Our rents are collected in full every month

    #3. 2019 year to date our average security deposit refund is 87.43% of the deposit.

    This means that Rent Smart has proven systems to successfully screen applicants to increase your revenue and minimize your risk.

    Contact us today for a complimentary consultation!
  • Q: Why should I hire a property manager?

    A: If you need to rent out your home until it sells, or if you are a seasoned real estate investor, managing investment property can be a slippery slope. Mistakes can be costly and today's renters are a highly sophisticated group. Information is just a keystroke away. You need to be informed, educated and prepared. Ask yourself these questions:

    • Would you accept payments on a security deposit?
    • What are the consequences of a Fair Housing claim?
    • Can you deny your resident the right to have an emotional support cat?


    These are just three things that could get you in hot water very quickly. Why not let a professional property management company such as Rent Smart Property Management take the burden off of your shoulders. Call us now… before you have to!
  • Q: How do you determine the market rent for my rental in Missoula?

    A: We utilize state of the art technology that aggregates rental listing data based on historical rent trends within a given radius and time frame based on building type, square footage, number of bedrooms and baths. We use this as a baseline, consider the median rent and make a final determination when we visit the property to scale up or down depending on amenities and property conditions. We may also make suggestions for improvements to make your Missoula rental property more appealing to attract higher quality residents who are willing to pay more for a quality residence.
  • Q: How long does it normally take to rent out my property in Missoula?

    A: We begin advertising your Missoula rental property immediately, once we receive the notice to vacate.

    The rental market in Missoula is seasonally based. The market begins to pick up in March and demand for rental property continues to increase through the summer, while late fall and winter experience a lull which affects both vacancy and rent rates. Rentals that are priced appropriately that are in good condition and pet friendly rent out at a quicker pace than those that suffer from deferred maintenance and those that do not allow pets.

    The market rent must match the condition of the rental. If there is a lack of interest in the rental that is a sign an adjustment needs to be made. Either change condition, by making improvements, or change in market rent to match the condition. We will always make suggestions to reduce your vacancy rate.

    We are so confident in our abilities that we are pleased to announce our new 21 Day Leasing Guarantee! We will guarantee to find you a fully qualified resident within 21 days or we will waive the weekly advertising fee.

    Here is how it works:

    • Rent Smart Property Management determines the rent rate based on current market conditions and makes adjustments as needed based on response
    • The 21 day marketing window begins when the property is vacant and rent ready
    • The property must be pet friendly and accepting approvable pets
    • Lockbox is installed for showings 7 days a week from 9am - 7pm
    • If we don’t place a fully qualified resident we waive the three weeks advertising fee that applies during the guarantee period and subsequent weeks of advertising until a resident is placed.
  • Q: How do you market my Missoula rental property?

    A: Rent Smart Property Management takes a multi-pronged approach in the marketing on our rentals. It's a blend of BRANDING, TECHNOLOGY and relationship building.

    OUR BRAND IN RELATIONSHIP BUILDING

    When we launched back in the spring of 2012, it was a different time. Management companies had very little to offer in the line of resident relations. We knew if we could develop a loyal following of qualified prospective renters, we could create a shift in our market. We launched our Facebook page and worked diligently to grow an audience. We had to give the audience what they wanted, and they wanted pet-friendly properties. They wanted to be treated with dignity and respect. They wanted their deposits back.

    Our social media posting of pet-friendly rentals, coupled with security deposit refund statistics goes a long way in building trust. And that trust lays a foundation of loyalty that is rewarded for years to come. This loyalty is something you can't buy, something you can't pay for, you have to earn it through actions. This is a huge benefit of placing your Missoula rental property with Rent Smart Property Management.

    We built a brand on doing things differently. We built it and they came.

    OUR TECHNOLOGY

    Rent Smart Property Management has come so far in 7 short years of managing real estate in Missoula. We were the first to invest in responsive web design, the first to watermark our listing photos to help prevent fraud, the first to offer online marketing videos of our listings. Our technology continues by offering 3D virtual tours for our Elite clients, lockboxes on our vacant listings for showings 7 days a week from 9 am - 7 pm. Online applications, online lease signings, online rent payments, online maintenance portal, everything we do is with convenience in mind. Our prospective. residents LOVE it, and time and time again we are told how convenient it is to work with us. And that is exactly what we want to hear, and you should, too.

  • Q: Do we have to allow pets?

    A: No, but you should.

    We want the same results that you do. Quality tenants, with secure jobs, stable income, good credit and residence history. If they show responsibility in all other aspects of their life, it is reasonable to expect that they would also be responsible pet owners.

    Over 60% of our population in Missoula County has a licensed dog. This does not take into consideration the number of unlicensed dogs or cats. This a huge demographic in our market. If we close the door to the entire pet owning pool we are down to slim pickings.

    For a pet to be considered, they have to be mature and of a non-aggressive breed.

    We are happy to report that currently all of our properties do either accept pets or will consider a pet in the right circumstance. Your level of comfort dictates our parameters for your property. We always charge an additional deposit. And, pet-friendly properties tend to rent far quicker than pets prohibited properties. This means your property is ahead of the competition.

    Rent Smart has come a long way with our branding to position ourselves as the "pet-friendly" property management company in Missoula. We have the largest social media following on Facebook in the property management industry in the Missoula market, with over 1300 fans at the time of this writing.

    Our pet-friendly branding helps draw greater attention to our listings than the competition. And each advertisement caters to the property owner's degree of comfort in accepting a pet.

    As an added layer of protection, we have our pet owning prospective renters complete a rental application for their pet. We utilize the services of a third party screening agency to fully vet the animal. Whether it is an emotional support animal or just the family dog, each pet is fully screened.

    We have an amazing track record of placing quality residents, and quality residents who are responsible pet owners. Our security deposit refund statistics reflect our success. On average, the departing residents in 2019 received over 87% of their security deposits back!

    We are so confident that you should accept a pet, that we will guarantee up to $1,000.00 of interior damages caused by the pet above and beyond the security deposit at no additional cost to you.

    Here is how it works:

    • Only applies to residents that have been placed by Rent Smart
    • All pets are screened by a third party agency
    • No cost to property owner, residents pay monthly fee
    • Guarantee applies to inside of the home, only
    • Guarantee does not extend to unauthorized pets, service animals or ESAs
    • Rent Smart will conduct a free interior inspection prior to offering lease renewal, repair any known damages at that time, and charge the resident. This inspection is in addition to the annual inspection included in our standard management plan, adding more value and greater peace of mind.
  • Q: Do I get to meet the tenants, and have their contact information?

    A: No. You are hiring a professional manager to manage your investment property. Our job is to minimize your risk by abiding the Montana Landlord Tenant Act, Fair Housing Laws, and to maintain our fiduciary obligation to you. We do not allow property owners and residents to have direct contact. We do not co-manage.
  • Q: How do we know the tenant you select won’t trash our property or stop paying rent?

    A: Renting is not without risk. We do our best on the front end to minimize risk by running a credit report, background check, collecting back up documentation like driver’s licenses and copies of bank statements, and vehicle registrations.

    The added benefit of collecting the additional documentation is to look for red flags, such as addresses that don’t match up to the applications, wage garnishments on paystubs, running balances on bank statements, NSFs, etc. At Rent Smart Property Management, we dig a little deeper than most. During the course of our time professionally managing rentals in Missoula, we have uncovered countless fraudulent applications and protected Missoula investment property owners from potentially thousands of dollars in lost rent, legal fees, and damages.

    Our minimum credit score requirement is perhaps the biggest differentiator between Rent Smart Property Management and the competition. Most of our competitors will accept credit-challenged individuals with a cosigner or additional deposit. With 7 years of history, we are proud to report that our systems work. We successfully collect the rent month after month and our clients receive timely distributions, thanks to our strict screening criteria.

    Thorough screening, coupled with proactive monitoring helps minimize risk.

  • Q: What if I don’t want to accept any University of Montana students?

    A: Sorry, we would not be able to accommodate that request. We strictly abide by all Fair Housing Laws and age discrimination would be in violation of the act.
  • Q: How do you handle maintenance for my Missoula rental property?

    A: Non-emergency requests are to be submitted online through the resident portal. Rent Smart Property Management responds to the resident directly through the portal keeping all communications in writing. We attempt to troubleshoot the issue before sending out a technician to save our clients unnecessary expenses, say, for a tripped circuit breaker. If an outside vendor is assigned to the request, the resident and vendor communicate directly through the portal to arrange access. Once the request is closed out and invoiced, the residents receive a followup on work performed to ensure customer satisfaction.

    We also employ an after-hours emergency dispatching service to handle all emergency calls after hours, nights and weekends. The dispatch service is well versed in trouble shooting prior to dispatching the vendor, and often times can walk the tenant through the solution and assess if the service call can wait until normal business hours to save the property owner in increased emergency service fees.

  • Q: Do you hold funds in a reserve account?

    A: We hold $400.00 in contingency reserve. This is used in the event of expenses exceeding income.
  • Q: What do you charge to manage my Missoula rental property?

    A: Property Management is not a one size fits all solution. We find that our investors have different needs so we have developed three unique service packages to choose from. Please check out our property management pricing page to help you decide which package is best for you.
  • Q: Why do you charge a technology fee?

    Technology is the vehicle that drives every facet of our business. Property management, as an industry, is rapidly changing. Technology continues to evolve to increase efficiency, manage work flows, track processes, enhance communication, along with inspection software, self showing technology, as well as online applications, lease signing, and online payments. We have leveraged technology to attract the savviest of renters, to reach the broadest market and rent your property for the most amount of money in the shortest amount of time. The technology fee allows us to continue to invest in technology that provides you the most value for the greatest return.

  • Q: Ready to get started and learn how Rent Smart can help solve your problems?

    A. We utilize state of the art technology to aggregate rental listing data based on historical rent trends within a given radius and time frame based on building type, square footage, number of bedrooms and baths. We use this as a baseline, consider the median rent and make a final determination when we visit the property to scale up or down depending on amenities and property conditions. Click here to obtain your free Market Rent Valuation Report

    We will send the report via email and request to schedule a consultation to learn more about your needs and discuss how we can offer you peace of mind.


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