Walnut Street Rentals Walnut Street Rentals
Equal Housing Opportunity (919) 378-1563
New Client/Investor Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Choosing the right property manager is a major decision with a lot of details to consider. Below are answers to some of the most commonly-asked questions about the process Please definitely contact us with your questions and for more details.

How long will it take to lease my property?

The short answer is that a properly-priced home should lease in 14-30 days. If a home is showing at least 2-3 times per week, it is priced right and should be on track to lease.

Other than price, the primary factor that can slow down leasing is the time of year. Historically, April through July have the absolute quickest leasing, while November, January and February have fewer showings. December has been a great month, as many folks tend to move for new jobs and changes planned for January 1st.

Sometimes more unique properties can take a bit longer to lease, such as homes which are very large or in more remote locations.

Will I have a say in choosing the resident for my property?

Absolutely! Many clients choose to leave the entire decision to us, but our default procedure is to discuss the 'final' candidates with the property owner (client) before making an offer to lease the home.

We generally treat the decision to lease a house like a missle launch in the movies. Both the property manager and the home owner should 'turn their keys' to approve a lease. If we absolutely feel that a candidate does not qualify, then we will not present them to the home owner for approval. If we feel the application is viable, we will then seek owner approval to lease the home. In this discussion, we will not share social security numbers, birth dates, or status in protected classes. All decisions must be made strictly on financial factors, which includes risk from pets and special requests from applicants.

Many clients do ask us to 'just make the decision' and we're comfortable with that too.

How do we determine the target rent price for my property?

The size and location of a property are the two main drivers of price. 'Size' refers to both square footage and the number of bedrooms. The price/size/location combination is what brings folks out to view a property, and the niceness of that property is what 'closes the deal.' Other than size/location, the main amenities which can affect the pricing is the presence of a garage and a fence around the yard.

When researching a pricing suggestion, we look at the similar properties in the surrounding area which have leased in the last year or are currently active. We try to find homes as close as possible, i.e. in the subdivision or surrounding neighborhoods. We also look at the 'days on market' of these homes to gauge the validity of their prices. If a property was on the market 90 days or more, it was likely overpriced. We also have the advantage of leasing homes all over the Triangle, so we can draw on our experience in dealing with similar properties in the area.

Our clients have the final say on setting the rental price for their properties. We do not to make promises we can't keep in order to sign clients. If you really want to get $1500/month for a home, and we believe it will lease for $1300, we are going to tell the truth even if it costs us the opportunity.

What about allowing pets?

That is the owner's choice. Our experience is that around 65% of good residents have pets. Oddly enough, many difficult residents do not have pets, but it's that group of people with undisciplined pets which will weigh on your mind. The only effective way to avoid the potential problems caused by pets is to not allow pets, but that greatly reduces your pool of customers, which will affect your pricing and overall revenue from the property.

Most clients choose to allow one or two pets with breed restructions and a $250 non-refundable pet fee. That $250 fee should offset potential costs to the owner when collected over several leases, and it does not reduce the residents' obligations to keep the home clean and free of damage.

How and when do I get paid?

We prefer to direct-deposit the rental proceeds straight into your checking or savings account. We can also mail out traditional checks each month, and there is no charge for either method. If you opt for direct deposits, we will need to get the routing number and account number for the account once we have secured a resident.

We will set up these payments on the 8th of each month. Direct deposits should arrive by the second banking day. If a resident pays the rent late, we will get the proceeds out to you as quickly as possible. With certified funds and cash, this can be within 1-2 banking days. (In almost every case of a late payment, certified funds are used.)

When do I turn off the utilities?

Once we have a lease signed, please schedule the utilities to be disconnected the day that the resident plans to move in. Hopefully, they will have the services connected that same day so that the home is never without power or water.

When the property turns-over, we will turn on the necessary utility services between residents, so that we can make sure they are disconnected appropriately. Generally, we just connect electricity.

What about this $250 repair fund in the contract?

That clause in the contract allows us to keep a small fund in escrow under your name to pay for repairs and other necessary expenses. We do not need to collect this up front, and we can build that fund from the first month's rent. If we have to spend some of these funds, we will replenish it from the following month's rent.

What's this I see about the costs of marketing the property?

As per our standard management terms, Walnut Street Rentals will pay referral fees to residents' agents equal based on one month's management fee. That is not a cost to the client; Walnut Street Rentals pays it because these other agents help make our job easier.

The cost of our marketing channels (MLS, Craigslist, ListHub) are included with our management agreement with no extra costs. There is only a charge if the client insists on using paid advertising channels that we do not normally use, i.e. the news paper classifieds or certain paid websites.

Do you have contractors that you generally work with? Do I have to use them?

Yes, we have relationships with several great contractors in almost every trade related to your property. We do not upcharge their fees nor do we get any financial benefit from using our preferred contractors. The main benefits we get from using our team is that they prioritize our business, know our expectations, and will work hard to keep our clients and residents happy with us.

We are happy to work with your preferred contractors or with your home warranty company. We have had great experiences working with our clients' contractors, and often we add those folks to our main list for all properties. We do reserve the right to not work with a contractor if they prevent us from fulfilling your obligations to your resident.

Should I provide a laundry washer/dryer? What about the refrigerator? Should I furnish the home?

We advise our clients to not provide washer/dryer sets with their properties. Laundry machines are not an expected amenity for rental homes in this area, and most residents will already own a washer/dryer set. Washers and dryers are the most repair-intensive appliances in a home, and providing them creates a liability for the landlord without increasing the target rent price at all.

Refrigerators are an expected amenity in the Triangle rental market, and we advise that clients provide a refrigerator which is in good condition and matches well with the home.

Providing a furnished home only makes sense if you are seeking to rent your home short-term or are interested in the college rental market. For long-term rentals, you will have better luck offering an unfurnished home.

It is important to remember that any item left in a rental home is subject to normal wear-and-tear, and possible total destruction by residents. If you have sentimental attachment to an item, then it is best to take it with you. If you are not providing a certain fixture or appliance, we should have it removed before showings begin.

What should I expect from my residents?

The full answer is found in the lease agreement and rules/regs documents under Sample Contracts. The quick answer is that the resident is responsible for keeping the home clean and the 'day-to-day' operational maintenance such as filter replacements. They are responsible to use everything properly (and know what that means), and they are definitely responsible to let us know immediately when something is broken.

If you are a landscaping guru, you should be prepared that most folks do not share your passion. Residents should and will keep a yard neat and trimmed, but they may not know exactly what to do with each plant. Special instructions should be made clear and appended to the lease rules prior to entering into a lease agreement.