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Frequently Asked Questions
Thank you for visiting Earnest Homes. We understand that choosing the right property management company for your investment property can be quite a challenge. We offer free consultation and promise to hold your hand through the process. Here are some of the questions most frequently asked by our new clients. If you have questions that are not addressed here, please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 323-473-9399.
Who is Earnest Homes?
Earnest Homes is an Award-winning Property Management company servicing the greater Los Angeles area and The San Fernando Valley. We have been perfecting and changing the property management industry since 2015. Our goal is to focus on providing values to our residents and landlords.
What are the differences between you and other management companies?
- Earnest Homes does not charge early termination fees for our management service. If you are not satisfied with our service, you may cancel our agreement at any time with a 30 day notice.
- We use the new cutting edge technology with 360 degree photos for move-in and move-out inspection, not just the checklist!
- When we approve a tenant, we guarantee that our tenant will be a quality tenant. If the tenant breaches our lease agreement within the first 12 months, we will secure the next tenant for free.
- Communication is always the main problem with property management companies. We respond to all owner and tenant calls and emails within 24 hours. If we fail to respond, that month’s management fee is on us.
- We have been awarded as one of the best property management companies in Los Angeles by propertymanagement.com and expertise.com. We are also a member of Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles (AAGLA), National Association of Residential Property Manager (NARPM), and California Association of Realtors (CAR).
Is your property management licensed and insured?
Earnest Homes is insured and licensed with California Bureau of Real Estate DRE# 02008003. We have a general liability policy, errors and omissions, worker’s compensation, and all state requirements.
What do you do for leasing and monthly management fees?
The leasing fee includes:
- Lease Agreement & Signing
- Virtual Tour
- Move-in Inspection
The management fee includes:
- Day-to-day operation
- Rent Collection
- Accounting and Tax Reporting
- Software and Online Portal
- Lease Administration & Enforcement
- Tenant Customer Service for Both Tenants and Landlords
- 24/7 Emergency Call Center
- Expert Consultation
For more information, please refer to our pricing page.
How much will my property rent for?
Earnest Homes has access to large databases including the MLS. We will gather the history of nearby rentals and perform Comparable Market Analysis. You may submit your address for a free rental analysis.
I am renting out my property for the first time, how does property management works?
The law is changing rapidly in California and it has never been a better time to hire a professional management company. Our firm can handle everything from preparing the property to rent-ready condition, marketing, leasing, screening prospects, rent collection, maintenance, eviction, and etc. Our managers will hold your hand and walk you through the process.
How do you handle property maintenance and can I use my own contractor?
Our property manager will diagnose the problem before contacting the vendor. Earnest Homes hires only licensed and insured contractors to maintain and make repairs on all of our properties. We request a minimum of $350 (depending on the size of the property) for auto-approval in order for us to take care of them right away. Our manager will contact you for any repairs over $350. If you wish to use your own contractor, the vendor must provide us with proper insurance, license, and W-9. Once the job is completed, the full detailed invoice will be uploaded to your online portal. A member of our team is also on call after hours and on holidays and weekends to handle maintenance emergencies.
How is rent collection handled and when am I paid?
Earnest Homes accepts rent payments via our online payment partner Propertyware, by personal check, ACH, or certified check. We do not accept cash. Late rent payments must be paid via certified funds.
Management will pay all authorized payments relating to maintenance and etc and disperse to the owners between 11-15th of each month depending on weekends and holidays.
How soon can you start managing my property?
Management begins when the management agreement has been signed both by the owners of the property and our agent. We can manage your property almost immediately.
What type of reports will I receive and will I get the receipts for all work that is done on my property?
Owner clients receive a monthly financial statement and 1099 at the end of each calendar year. Property condition reports with 360 degree photos are generated as tenants move in and move out. Periodic inspection are performed via checklist only except damages to protect the resident’s privacy. All invoices, lease agreements, notices, and all other important documents can be accessed from the owner portal.
Can you cancel the management agreement?
This is a relationship based business and we believe in respect and trust in one another. If you are not happy with our service for any reason, you can give us a 30 day notice at any time. There’s no early termination fee.
What is your smoking policy?
We do not allow smoking inside in all of our properties.
What is your pet policy?
Over 50% of prospective tenants have pets. We recommend that landlords accept pets if you wish to increase the competition for your rental. We charge tenant $500 in additional security deposit and $50 in pet rent for each pet. You can limit the weight limit to less than 25 lbs if you are afraid of pet damage or use our Pet Guarantee Protection with Platinum or Diamond Service Plan.
What do I need to prepare for my property to be in rent-ready condition?
Tenants expect the property to be in “hotel room clean” condition which may include:
- Painting(preferably with neutral colors)
- Carpet cleaning
- Interior cleaning including appliances
- Window coverings
- Smoke detectors in every bedroom and carbon monoxide alarm on each level and hallway
All major systems must be in operating condition and all health and safety issues to be addressed. We can help coordinate most of the work with 10% markup.
Should I let the tenant install their own washer and dryer or refrigerator?
We recommend that the landlord provides the refrigerator. The reasons are because most rental properties provide a complete set of appliances and prospective tenants want the rental with the least hassle, we have to make the moving process as easiest as possible. Tenants already have a lot going on when moving and the cost of a refrigerator is relatively low compared to the higher rent you will be receiving in returns.
The same philosophy can be applied for washers and dryers. However, we understand that the costs are higher for these appliances. You can choose not to install them if it’s going to be over your budgets.
Should you pay for a gardener and/or pool maintenance or let the tenant pay for it?
We do not recommend that the landlords pay for anything for the tenant with the exceptions of gardener and pool service. You have to be prepared with the high probability that the tenant might not maintain them. From our experience, the tenants have no motivation to take care of them the way you expect them to and it can be expensive to restore back to the same condition.
What happens if my tenant doesn’t pay rent and how do you handle eviction?
Although we screen carefully to be sure we are only placing qualified tenants in your property, there is always the possibility that a tenant may fail to pay rent. Earnest Homes enforces a very strict rent collection policy to protect our owners’ interests and our current eviction rate is below 1%. All rent payments are due on the 1st of every month, and late fee is charged by the 4th day. If unpaid after the 6th day of the month, a 3 day notice to pay will be served. We will contact the owner to make them aware of the situation and explain available options. It has been our experience that most tenants will pay before the expiration of the notice or make contact with our office to explain the delay. If the tenant does not pay or vacate within the five days prescribed, the next step is filing an eviction. The property owner does not have to appear in court, this is a process we handle for you with our eviction attorney (court, attorney, and representation fee will apply). Earnest Homes also offers an Eviction Guarantee Protection with Platinum or Diamond Service Plan to cover this expense.
What is California FTB Tax Withholding?
If you are not a California Resident or a corporation or is not LLC qualified to conduct business in California, property management companies must withhold and transmit to California Franchise Tax Board 7% of the gross payment for an out-of-state owner and 30% for an alien individual, a foreign entity, or non-U.S. person.
You may also be eligible to file a Nonresident Withholding Waiver Request form (CA FORM 588) if you are still filing taxes in California. Earnest Homes can walk you through this process or/and you can consult your CPA.
What type of clients have you worked with?
We work mainly with first-time landlords and investors. However, our clients also include foreign investors, asset management companies, general contractors, lawyers, real estate agents, trustees, and everyone from all walks of life.
My property is affiliated with an HOA. How do you deal with them?
We are very familiar with CC&Rs and Bylaws. You will have to clarify with the HOA that you are permitted to lease your unit/property. We will handle the rest and make sure the tenant abides all rules and regulations.
When do you perform inspections?
We perform move-in and move-out inspection with 360 degree camera to avoid dispute with our tenants. The periodic or maintenance inspection is every 6-10 months.
What accounting or software are you using?
When do you start marketing and how fast can you get it rented?
We can begin immediately after the management agreement, keys, leasing intake form, photos are obtained. Earnest Homes syndicates our listings to over 30 of the largest rental sites such as Zillow, Trulia, Hotpads, Westside Rentals, Zumper, Lovely, Apartments, and ETC. We can also advertise on the MLS if requested by the client.
The average market time is 30 days. However, if the rental property is priced properly, it may be rented as early as that same week.
What lease contract do we use?
Earnest Homes is a member of Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles (AAGLA) and California Association of Realtors (CAR). We chose to use the CAR lease agreement with additional clauses and addendums. We do not use our own lease because we feel that our clients are more protected with CAR lease since CA and local laws have been changing at a rapid rate.
How long should a lease agreement last?
The majority of our new leases are for 1 year. We can renew at the end of the lease or let it default to month-to-month. We do not recommend locking in for longer than a 1 year term just in case the tenant becomes difficult or you decide to sell the property in the future.
Does your management company solely decide on the price of my rental or is it something we decide together?
We will provide you with optimum rent price based our experience of the area along with comparable market analysis. If you do not agree with the pricing, we will create a marketing plan which may include a plan to assess and lower the rental amount as needed.
I already have a property management company but I am looking to switch. What do I do?
In most cases, all you have to do is give your current property management company a 30-day notice. Our manager will be in touch with your current management company to obtain keys, lease agreements, deposits, etc.
I want to hire Earnest Homes but I do not live in the area. What do I do?
Our management agreement can also be signed digitally and you can mail your keys to our office at the address below:
ATTN: Jesse Sasomsup
15303 Ventura Blvd #900
Sherman Oaks, CA 91403
Please call us if you have any questions at 323-473-9399
How do you screen tenants?
- We run a full credit and criminal background check for everyone over 18 years of age.
- The proof of income is 3 times to rent amount ratio
- Minimum FICO scores of 650
- We will call both the current landlord and employer to verify the information
- All occupants 18 and older must fill out our online application. Applicants are approved based on a scoring process that is fair and consistent to comply with Fair Housing regulations. We perform credit check to detect any collections, bankruptcies, and assess credit worthiness.
- Employment and Previous Rental History are verified by contacting their present employer and previous landlords. We also perform criminal background checks on all prospective residents.
For more information, please visit our Rental Criteria.
Do you have online portal for rent payments and maintenance requests?
Yes, we have online portal for both landlords and residents. All things like document signing, fund transfers, maintenance requests, and owner statements are transparent between all parties.
Do you charge management fee when property is vacant?
For new clients, we will manage for free for the first 30 days during vacancy. However, we do not charge this fee when the property is being re-listed.
How much should we collect for security deposit and who keeps them?
Generally, we require a minimum of one month’s rent and an additional of $500 for each pet. However, California law allowes a maximum of 2 month’s rent and up to 3 month’s rent for furnished properties.
Either the owner or management can keep the deposit but we recommend our clients to keep the funds in our broker’s trust account. If you wish to retain it and the tenant files a small claims court lawsuit, we may not be able represent you in court because you have the fund in your possession.
How do you deal with damages at the end of tenancy or move-out?
Earnest Homes perform the move in/out inspection with our 360 degree camera. We then compare the photos side by side and itemize all damages on our security deposit refund form. We will deduct all damages, not including any wear and tear directly from the security deposit. The landlord will have a chance to finalize this form before we mail it out to the tenant.
Can you help sell my property?
Yes! Earnest Homes is a licensed brokerage firm. Most of our clients choose to list their homes with us because we are already familiar with your home and tenant. We will post a proper notice and help coordinate with the tenants. We are a member of California Association of Realtors and MLS. Earnest Homes will refund the management fees up to one year if you choose to list your home with us.