Answers to your frequently asked questions
Please see, Maintenace FAQs to see if this can resolve your maintenace issues.
What do you mean when you say "full-service property management"?
Ernst & Haas handles all aspects of managing your property. From screening potential tenants, to collecting rents, to tending to maintenance requests, we've got it covered. We even manage items such as paying your mortgage, processing your mail, and dealing with you HOA.
What areas do you service?
Ernst & Haas primarily serves Long Beach, alongside other cities such as Lakewood, Cerritos, Signal Hill, Cypress, and Bellflower.
What types of properties don't you manage?
Ernst & Haas primarily manages residential and commercial units. We are not able to manage Home Owner Associations, vacation rentals, mobile homes, and certain types of condominiums.
My property has a pool. Is that a problem?
While pools have reputations of being high maintenance and low return items, if managed correctly they can add to the value of your investment. We strongly recommend that all pools have safety fences and that a monthly pool service be furnished to the resident.
Ok, I'm interested, what do I do now?
For more information on our services or to schedule an appointment you can request a Management Information Package or let us know that I'm interested -- Please Contact Me. regarding any questions you may have. We'll send you a management agreement and/or schedule a "no obligation" appointment to meet you at your property for an overall assessment.
Leasing Your Property
How quickly can you lease my property?
Many factors come into play when trying to lease any unit: location, time of year, price, quality of applicants, and more. Although we do not like vacant properties, we understand that finding the most qualified tenant takes patience on both our end, and your end.
What steps do you take to lease my property?
In addition to our posted signs and banners, we market our vacancies on hundreds of websites, including on our own, Craigslist, Zillow, Trulia, and many more.
How much will my property rent for?
The amount a property rents for really depends on numerous factors: location, size, amenities, and market rent. Request a free, no obligation rent analysis on your property by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
What are your fees?
Ernst & Haas charges 7% of collected income depending on the size and type of property. These fees cover every service we offer.
When will I receive my funds each month?
Our firm follows a traditional accounting cycle by collecting rents at the beginning of each month; paying expenses during the fiscal month; and closing out and issuing reports and disbursements at the end of the month. It normally takes about 5 days to compile reports, make copies of invoices/correspondence, and cut disbursement checks. There is no mandatory hold period or required reserves. You may request funds be sent to you at anytime during the month.
Will I ever be contacted by the tenants, city, neighbors, homeowners associations, etc.?
No. As a full-service management firm, Ernst & Haas handles all communications concerning your property. In the event that someone contacts you, we ask that you refer them to us so we can take it from there.
As a client, if I ever have a problem or question, whom do I contact?
As an Ernst & Haas client you will have a property supervisor assigned to your property that will oversee all aspects of managing your property. Whenever you have a question, you may call, e-mail, or fax your supervisor so they may respond promptly. Contact our Management Team.
I am currently having my property managed by a company who is not meeting my needs and I need to make a change. However, I'm not very comfortable doing this. What should I do?
If you are experiencing differences in personality, investment philosophy, or performance expectations with your current property manager, you may want to consider a switch. If this is uncomfortable or inconvenient for you, Ernst & Haas can handle the whole process for you.
Real Estate Investing
You claim that real estate investing has great returns, but my rent barely covers the mortgage payment. How can this be such a good deal?
Rent is only one component of figuring the return on your real estate investment, and it may not even be the most important. You must also consider:
- Appreciation - Besides being a good hedge against inflation, real estate usually appreciates over the long term. For example, in the years 2004-2008, area real estate homes appreciated by about 4%. When you consider that most properties are mortgaged, a 4% appreciation can be great. For example, if you put $60,000 down on a $300,000 home, which then appreciates by 4%, your return on appreciation alone is 100%!
- Tax Savings (State and Federal) - Remember, with an investment property all costs are deductible including fees, maintenance, and insurance. In addition, you may depreciate the cost of the home over 27.5 years. Depending on your tax bracket, these savings can substantially add to your return.
- Future Rent Increases - Typically, as the value of your property rises so does the rent. With your mortgage payment remaining fixed, rising rents will increase your return over the life of the investment.
- Reduction of Principal - Part of your mortgage payment each month goes to reduce your principal. With a rental property, your tenants are, in essence, paying off your mortgage.
- Leverage - Real estate may be the only investment where you can borrow most of its value. In a rising market this leverage will multiply your returns. However, it does not come without a cost in the form of a higher mortgage payment which may temporarily hamper cash flows.
Can Ernst & Haas help me locate and purchase investment property?
Yes. Far and away, the single most important step in a successful real estate investment is the purchase. Not even the best property manager can overcome a poor purchase decision. Over the years, Ernst & Haas has purchased various types of properties for our clients and we know what to look for in an investment property. And you will know what the true rent will be on each property so you can make a sound business decision.
What happens if I want to sell my property?
Obviously we are strong believers in real estate investing, especially given the current market's upside potential. However, in the event that you need to sell, we will refer you to several realtors with strong performance records and then work with them closely to make sure that all aspects of the sale are fully coordinated. Before selling you should consider a 1031 exchange (see below).
What is a 1031 exchange and how does it work?
Due to the burdensome tax consequences of selling, we also strongly suggest that our clients consider a tax-deferred 1031 exchange as an alternative to selling. A 1031 exchange is a great investment tool that allows you to sell one property and purchase another while paying no taxes. More details on 1031 Exchanges.
Can you tell me how much my property is worth?
Property appreciation is a critical piece of your investment return and is too often overlooked. One of the services we provide is a comparative property valuation for our clients.
Do you provide any investment advisory services?
One criticism of property management firms is that they are little more than "glorified rent collectors". We know that in order for us to prosper, our clients must prosper also and we recognize the importance of adding value to your real estate investment. One way we do this is by offering timely and accurate information and advice. We feel like we know the market and more importantly, we know about the little things that really make all the difference. We regularly pass this knowledge on to our clients - often on a personalized and individual basis. And don't worry - there's no extra charge!
Maintenance, Inspections, & Insurance
How much maintenance should I expect on my property?
The answer to this question really depends on numerous factors. However, over the life of the property, maintenance costs can average between 8-12% of the rents. Obviously newer properties with higher grade materials (block fences, tile roofs, etc.) are going to have much lower maintenance costs, while older homes may have higher maintenance costs. And of course, the quality of the tenant plays a major role in keeping costs down.
Do you get my approval before assigning maintenance work?
Our maintenance supervisor and coordinators closely scrutinize all maintenance requests and takes great care to minimize your costs. In the event where the cost of a repair is expected to exceed the stated limit, you will be contacted for approval.
Do you recommend a home warranty for my property?
Home warranties cover the repair and/or replacement of major mechanical systems and appliances at your property for an annual premium ranging from $300-$400. This takes a lot of the unpredictability out of maintenance costs.
I've heard that Ernst & Haas does interior inspections. Why?
Interior inspections are one of the most valuable services we offer. We do a formal and comprehensive interior inspection of every home we manage at least once annually. During this process, our inspector checks to make sure that the residents are abiding by the lease and that there is no serious damage to the value of the property. He will check for such things as unauthorized residents and pets, maintenance issues, and hazardous conditions. Since implementing this inspection program in 2002, we've identified and eliminated several potentially dangerous situations that could have resulted in injury and even death – followed, of course, by lawsuits.
How much insurance coverage do I need?
We require that our clients have a minimum of $300,000 in property liability coverage. Anything less is just too risky.
Direct Deposit Services
When will I receive my funds?
Funds will be transferred into your account before the end of the current month.
How will I know that my funds have arrived?
You can call your bank to verify that an "Electronic Credit" was received.
What happens when I receive my funds and I then have questions?
Your monthly statements will arrive via email within 24 hours after the transfer occurs. These statements will answer most of your questions. While you are always welcome to call our office for information, in most cases it makes sense to wait until after you have reviewed your statements
Is there any risk to this process?
Electronic funds transfer is a proven method of quickly and accurately moving funds. By enrolling in this program the likelihood of errors is virtually eliminated. If there is a mistake, it can be corrected immediately without hassle.
What if I wish to discontinue this service?
No problem. Simply notify our office by phone or in writing and we'll begin sending your funds by check