Frequently asked questions about rates and contracts.
Do I have to pay anything up front to use your services?
No. But we will take money out of the first months rent with these two expenses:
Limestone Investments – We charge $100 for start up. That includes an assessment of your property, getting photos, video, a lockbox, marketing etc.
Commission – We pay out a commission to other agents. This ranges from $200 – $600 depending on the type of home. Generally, $300 for a modest single family home and $200 for a condo is sufficient.
How much do you charge each month?
8% of the collected rent each month. There are other fees associated with special events. The short list includes:
- $26 for each maintenance event.
- $35 for posting notices
- $40 for annual inspections
The long list of rare events is listed here.
What does that 8% include?
Experience. Decades of experience keeps rent dodgers out of your property and you out of court. Property management isn’t about just kicking back and collecting rents. Having the right vendors lined up, screening tenants and knowing what to do when things go wrong is what you are really paying for. You are paying for time spent handling your property, responding to HOA violations, tenant inquiries, your inquiries, monthly reports, year end reports and hundreds of little tasks that get showered on us every day. Then there is overhead. There are literally thousands of expenses related to managing properties. Here are just a few things we have to pay to stay in business.
- Accountants to make sure money is at the right place, at the right time for the right reasons.
- Software is required to pull all this data together and tie it to accounting and our website.
- Business Licenses (Las Vegas, Clark County, North Las Vegas, Henderson)
- Real Estate Licenses
- Mandatory continuing education classes (these are painful)
- GLVAR association dues
- Car Expenses (gas, insurance, maintenance)
- Photography Equipment
- Office Supplies
- You get the idea. All this little stuff ads up.
Can I stop using your services at any time?
Yes. We are confident in our services. You are welcome to leave at anytime. You don’t even need to give us a 30 day notice. We will reconcile your account the next business day and pat you on the back. Many of our competitors require one year exclusive contracts and penalties for terminating early. Here is our SAMPLE CONTRACT.
What is included in the set up?
- Getting comparable rents for marketing.
- Putting a lockbox on the property.
- Getting photos.
- Getting video.
- Providing you expert guidance on repairs if needed.
- Creating a record in our system for tracking.
- Posting the property on our site with application links.
- Posting the property on the MLS and about 40 other sites.
- Screening hundreds of prospects.
- Going through applications.
What areas to you cover?
Pretty much the entire Las Vegas Metro area:
- Las Vegas
- North Las Vegas
Our portfolio as of January 2019 is about 450 doors. 90% of that is “Single Family” . We eliminated about 200 “Multi Family” doors in 2017 and our hair stopped falling out. We manage a handful of commercial properties consisting of mixed use and office. We are not afraid of any neighborhood. We can handle anything from the rough areas near downtown to bling bling in Summerlin. Our screening processes are different for the rough neighborhoods and that’s proprietary information.
We do not manage properties in Boulder City or Pahrump.
Do I have to pay some kind of “reserve”?
No. Unlike most of our competitors, we don’t want to hold your money for no reason. We trust that you will reimburse us in a timely fashion for smaller repairs and we will ask for 50% on large ticket items.
How do I get paid?
Electronically – We send you money electronically from our account to yours. Generally, all our owners are paid by the 15th of the month. Commercial property owners and short term rental owners get paid closer to the end of the month. The reason we don’t pay out at the beginning of the month is not all tenants are prompt and some tenants have payments that bounce. We found it awkward when tenants have an NSF and we have to ask the owners to pay us back. We are not deliberately trying to hold your money, we just want to make sure your tenant’s rent is good before we pay you out.
How do you collect rent?
We drive around the heat with a baseball bat. Just kidding. Most of our tenants pay us electronically. The ones who need to pay cash or with a money order pay at any 7-Eleven or CVS Pharmacy. We do not accept checks in the mail or money in person.
Day 1 – Tenants make a deposit. Most tenants have a 5 day grace period.
Day 5 – Tenants who have not paid rent get a reminder via text.
Day 6 – On Day 6 we will post a 7 day notice to pay or quit.
on or before Day 15 – Money will appear in your account.
You will get an email from us stating how much you received. You can login to your owner portal to pull up you statement.
How much do you charge to renew a lease?
$100. However, circumstances can mitigate that fee. For example, if we have a naughty tenant who doesn’t complete their lease, most of our agents will waive this fee. We generally don’t recommend renewing a lease unless you are want to bump up the rent. The downside to kicking a sleeping dog is they are likely to wake up and go to another property. 50% of the tenants who get an increase in rent leave. Be careful.
Do you charge me for the period the property is vacant?
No. It’s hard for me to believe competitors actually charge an owner for a vacant property. We do have security packages for vacant properties that you may consider. Those are one time set up charges. We require you purchase our basic security package if your property is furnished. Furnished units are frequently attacked.
What kinds of reports do you provide?
Monthly and yearly. Every month you will get a statement with all the transactions. This owner statement also includes actual invoices of repairs completed. At the end of the year, you will get a profit and loss statement along with a 1099. Those 2 documents are the only 2 most CPAs require to complete your taxes.
What happens to the security deposits?
Deposits go into a trust account monitored by the Nevada Real Estate Division. That money isn’t your money and it isn’t our money. When a tenant moves out, a walk through is completed and any damages are paid with that deposit. Generally, we video this walk through so you can see what needs to be done if anything. That money is distributed between the owner and the tenant. Limestone Investments makes no money on repairing or cleaning a unit. We also factor in “wear and tear” on a unit. That is a gray area requiring me to decide what is excessive and what isn’t.
Frequently asked questions about tenant placement.
How long does it take you to get a tenant?
Most tenants are placed before a property is vacant.
- Current Clients – We always put properties on the market before a property is vacant. The minute a tenant announces their departure, we put the property on the market. We have turnaround times as short as 2 hours. We don’t mess around.
- New Clients – The speed at which we get a tenant is a function of price. Generally, we place tenants within 2 weeks at market price unless it’s in the winter when people are not moving. If you price your property too high, it will sit vacant for a long time. This video covers pricing and preparation.
Where do you advertise rentals?
About 40 websites. We use 2 online software applications that “push” a property to all these site. That means, once we input your property into our system and the local MLS, those 2 sites feed data to all those other sites. It’s a beautiful thing. Here are the top few…. Zumper, Show Me The Rent, Realtor.com, Trulia, Abodo, Apartment Advisor, uCribs, USA Today , Rent College Pads, RentFocus, ApartmentLove, Trovit, RentHop, Dwellsy, Trintals, RentLingo, ForLeaseByOwner, Real Estate Technology, RealRentals, HotPads (Zillow Rental Network), RadPad/Priority, PadMapper, EveryRent, Hunt, Homes.com, Walk Score, Attlus, CallitHome, CollegeHouse.com, Uloop, KeyLasso, Rentler, Apartment List, Apartments.com, Lovely, .RentalSourcecom,
Why don’t you advertise properties on Zillow?
They charge a subscription that has dubious benefits. Most property managers (including us) stopped using Zillow when they required a subscription to post listings in 2019. Before we stopped using Zillow, less than 5% of our tenants came from Zillow. It was a simple math conclusion: Why make owners pay for a service that has little value? They made their process such that we either had to force all our owners to pay those fee or not at all. Property managers in Las Vegas essentially told Zillow they can pound sand. Here are two more things you should know:
- Since most property managers are not advertising on Zillow, tenants are discovering that Zillow has only a fraction of the inventory and no longer using Zillow to find rentals.
- From your perspective as an owner, it appears that all properties are on Zillow when in fact, only the properties that were rented are populating their site. The pull that data from the MLS – not from us.
How do you screen tenants?
Our initial screen filters out the crazies (people without a job, eviction record, people who don’t make sense). We have an online application that collects the essentials of a tenant. If a tenant is weak, then we may require higher deposits or higher rents with your permission. There are specific flags that he looks for which comes from his 20 years of experience managing tenants. Since we are on the hook to deal with them, it is in our best interest to get you a good one. Our income and reputation suffers if we get you a bad one so we are focused on getting you a good one!
- Job History – Generally, anyone who has more than 2 years job history in Las Vegas is a rock star. If they are issued a W-2 and it shows that they have more than 3 times rent, we are clapping our hands with glee.
- Rent History – Someone who has more than 2 years rent history is also a rare breed. There are ways for us to verify this of course but generally we are looking for the reasons why they are leaving and if they have a history of paying on time.
- Credit History – 80% of the tenants in Las Vegas have a credit history of less than 650. When we pull their credit, we are looking for specific types of credit hits that do not do not necessarily mean they are bad tenants. Medical delinquency is an example of something we sometimes overlook. We are looking for current trends and the type of credits dings that correspond to bad tenants. If they had superb history, they wouldn’t be interested in renting your property – they would own a home.
- Criminal History – We weigh someone’s criminal history with the type of property they are looking to rent. Someone with an old felony for example may be ok for a multi family property. This list of exceptions and rules are too lengthy and proprietary to post here.
Can I review your tenant application before the tenant is placed?
No. The primary reason is because we don’t want investors fishing for race. Our proprietary screening system focuses on history and not someone’s skin color. We evict just as many white people as we do latinos and blacks. If this is a problem for you, please find another company. The secondary reason we don’t allow owners to approve applications is that we find most owners don’t have the experience to see red flags and exceptions to credit. You are permitted to put restrictions on the background as long as they are not illegal. For example, a common filter is credit. If you have a certain credit minimum, we can put that in the advertising. We don’t recommend this as sometimes poor credit is related to a medical judgement.
What are your vacancy rates?
Less than 2%. Many of these are vacant because it was either poorly managed by a previous company or an owner shot themselves in the foot by placing their own naughty tenant. The other issue is season. You can’t give a property away in December as tenants have Santa Claus and booze on the brain. Your vacancy is a function of price. If you want over market price in October, your property will sit vacant until the spring.
Can I make my property available for Section 8 Vouchers?
Yes. Only if you have lost your mind. In case you are not familiar with that program, the government provides rental vouchers to folks who have issues. In the past 20 years, I have never seen a Section 8 tenant do less than $10k worth of damage to a property with the exception of one tenant. The government’s claim they will reimburse you is a bunch of baloney. This photo album will show you a typical section 8 move out. There is probably a 95% chance your property will look like that after one year. By the way, the government also provides those tenants with free legal council to enable your tenant to destroy your property even longer. Since we don’t make any money on your $10,000 rehab, we are not motivated to help you with placing a section 8 tenant.
What do you think about pets?
We don’t recommend allowing pets. However, this issue is up to you. A general rule of thumb $150 per pet deposit up to 2 pets. Another recommendation is to charge “pet rent” between $50 – $150 per month. It’s totally ok if you don’t allow pets and we don’t recommend pets. The drawback of course is that you get fewer prospects and may cost you a month’s worth of income. No pets can cost you in terms of vacancy. We no longer allow dogs in properties with pools. We have had WAY too many issues between nasty dogs and pool cleaners.
What happens at the end of a tenant lease?
Frequently asked questions about maintenance.
Who handles tenant service calls?
Our dedicated maintenance supervisor (currently Barb Toft) . This page goes into our maintenance process in detail.
- Non-Urgent Calls Under $400 – It is cheaper, faster and better just to fix the problem. We will notify you via email about the problem with approximate costs. The vendor will then just bill us and we bill you. Examples of non-urgent calls are things like broken windows, dripping faucets, irrigation leaks… things that are not immediately jeopardizing your property or the health of the tenant.
- Non-Urgent Calls Over $400 – We will contact you to discuss your options and/or provide multiple bids. Examples of non-urgent calls over $400 would be things like roof replacement, pool equipment failure… things that are not immediately jeopardizing your property or the health of the tenant.
- Urgent Calls Over $400 – If we can’t reach you immediately, we make a decision for you. Broken pipes, leaking roof… things that are immediately jeopardizing your property and/or the health of the tenant.
What does your maintenance process look like?
Tenants call our maintenance hotline which is monitored about 20 hours a day. This voicemail is converted to a text to all our maintenance supervisors. A specialist is dispatched based on the complexity of the problem. If more than a couple of trades are involved, we will send a general contractor. Generally, we charge $26 for each service call. If the problem is really complex and involves managing more than a couple of vendors, a major event could go up to 10% of the overall invoice (usually a major rehab). A garbage disposal for example would be the cost of the plumber + $26.
This page goes into our maintenance process in detail.
Do you do annual inspections?
Yes! This is a requirement because we don’t want surprises. Every year we discover tenants who are not taking proper care of a property and we take steps to get rid of them.
Why do tenants pay a $40 maintenance deductible?
This eliminates silly requests. We don’t want tenants calling us to change out a lightbulb. This also eliminates tenants who constantly complain. The fee is high enough to slow them down but not enough to prevent them from calling it in. If you charge too much, tenants will not report problems that could potentially harm your property in the long run. Water dripping under the kitchen sink is an example of something that could create mold and cost you a LOT of money in the long run. You also have the option of waiving this fee. Tenants who never complain and pay rent on time would be an example of someone you could decide not to charge.
Why are appliances the responsibility of a tenant?
This forces tenants to care for them. Our leases have a clause where tenants are responsible for appliances. If a tenant doesn’t clean or maintain an appliance, we make them pay for a new another one UNLESS you decide otherwise. When an appliance breaks, we give that decision to the owner by providing photos or an assessment of that appliance.
What happens when an appliance breaks?
Unless it’ a minor, we replace it with another used one. Generally, the cost to look at an appliance and repair it is about half the cost of another used one. We don’t recommend new appliances because tenants in general are not careful and you don’t want some fancy appliance they will chew on. A clean refurbished appliance is all you need.
What happens if I purchase a home warranty?
You will lose money and possibly your tenant. Despite their propaganda, home warranties don’t even pay for themselves. Here are the 4 reasons why you should not buy them:
- The yearly fee and service calls usually exceed the cost of most minor repairs.
- Home warranty companies inevitably makes some excuse as to why the problem isn’t covered and the owner ends paying for the repair anyway. We get 2 cases a year where they actually make the problem much worse.
- Home warranty companies don’t cover thousands of problems related to landscaping, pool maintenance and damages caused by tenants.
- We charge you for all the time it takes to chase down toothless technicians who are dispatched by warranty companies who often do more damage.
- Nearly all our serious drama is related to home warranty companies who make ridiculous promises to owners. We lose about 2 tenants a year because of these home warranties. We have never ever never witnessed a home warranty replace an air conditioner. Ever.
For the record, we don’t earn money on repairs. There is no financial incentive for us to do manage your repairs the right way.
What happens if the air conditioning fails and I have a home warranty?
There will be drama because most warranty companies usually take a week to send a technician. If you have lived in Las Vegas, you know it can become unbearable to live in a house with no air conditioning. Our phone blows up when the AC goes out. We end up calling you. You call the warranty company, they call the tenant, the tenant calls us… We actually lose a tenant each year because of these. If you get a home warranty, we cannot guarantee that you will not lose your tenant in August when the AC goes out. Here is our latest rant on home warranties.
If your home warranty does not dispatch a technician within 48 hours, we will step in and take care of the problem. That clause is in our management agreement. We are not going to get a bad reputation because of your lame home warranty company.
What happens if I get a complaint from the HOA?
We inform the tenant and give them a deadline. We warn them that if they don’t comply, they will get a fine from the HOA. If they get another notice (2nd warning), we will fix the problem and then bill the tenant. If the tenant continues violating HOA rules, we get rid of them.
How do you handle utilities?
If your property becomes vacant AND utilities are necessary, you have the option of turning them on yourself. We charge $10 to manage each utility. Properties that have a lot more going on with pools, plants and so on which require constant utilities will keep on until the new tenant arrives. Gas is usually not required on a vacant property.
What happens to a cleaning deposits?
We don’t recommend cleaning deposits. If you do require a cleaning deposit, we recommend you make it refundable. If you a make a cleaning deposit “non refundable” you are providing incentive for the tenant to leave the property dirty. It is cheaper, faster and better for your tenants to leave the property clean. If the property needs to be clean, we take it out of the security deposit. There is no reason to make this rocket science.
Can you pay my taxes, HOA fees or anything that may put a lien on my property?
Yes but it is not recommended. Here is why you should pay anything that can put a lien on your property:
- We charge $10 to pay recurring bills. Since that’s a process you can probably automate, you can save yourself $10/month.
- It’s not a good idea to give any property management company the responsibility of paying a bill that can put a lien on your property. Taxes is another bill for example that you would not want to give someone else.
- By keeping in the loop of your HOA, it gives you another set of eyes on us and the tenant. Most HOAs do not have a “multiple distribution” system which means if you transferred that responsibility to us, you would never keep posted on what’s going on in/around your condo.
Frequently asked questions about naughty tenants.
What happens if a tenant is late?
We spank them. The first offense gets a warning, the second offense gets a fine and a 7 day notice. Every fine afterward gets stiffer and stiffer. They either correct their behavior OR we take steps to get rid of them. It has been increasingly difficult to get rid of naughty tenants because of laws that were passed during Covid. This is why it is so important we invest in proper screening.
What do you do with tenants who don't take of property?
We get rid of them. Tenants rarely change behavior. Once a piggy, always a piggy. When their lease ends, we give them notice to vacate. Next.
At what point do you evict a tenant for not paying?
A rule of thumb is 50% behind. For example, if the tenant only paid $1000 rent when they were supposed to pay $2000, we start eviction proceedings. Tenants will usually come to Jesus at this point. 95% either pay or leave. This rule also applies to fines. If a tenant has accumulated more than 50% in late fees, we will start the eviction process.
Do you take care of evictions?
Yes. 90% of our problem children leave gracefully. We have specific procedures for evictions. This page explains the eviction process in detail. We evict about 1 tenant every 4 months and we don’t mess around. Back in 2017 we managed about 30 multi family buildings and we did about 3 evictions a week. Jim teaches a whole class on evictions to other property managers.
What are eviction costs?
In most scenarios it will cost you $1000 + lost rent. Most of the time, tenants pay for posting notices and court costs unless they are locked out. If we get a “fighter” the worst case will be about $1000 at the end of the day. A “fighter” is one who goes the whole battle kicking and screaming. We never lose and “fighters” end up on the sidewalk within 5 months. Before COVID, we were able to evict tenants within 6 weeks. Since then, the government has made our life way more difficult.
- 7 Day Notices – $100 – This fee gets tacked onto a tenant’s rent. Once they get to the $300 point we start the eviction process. 95% our tenants come to Jesus on these notices. They either leave gracefully or pay.
- Court Costs & Appearances – $400 – If you get a fighter and the broker has to suit up for court, this is his cost to represent you.
- Lock Outs – $500 – In the rare event a “lock out” is require.
Frequently asked questions about legal stuff.
What is the best way to protect myself?
Hide your assets. This is where Jim needs to finish…