Owner FAQs

How do I know you are the right property manager for me?

A Sterling Approach Property Management (ASAPM) is locally owned and operated by Tricia Sterling and Renae Knapp, lifetime residents of Idaho. With years of experience in the property management field, we offer fair dealings and great service. You won’t find a more personable, honest and reliable property management company in the area to take care of your investment. We will answer the phone and you will be able to reach us when you need to. We will inspect your property and know the condition. We will know who you are when you call us, and what’s going on with your tenants. If your property is going to vacate, we will notify you. Serious maintenance problem? You will hear from us. Did your tenant stop paying their rent? You will know about it. We want to earn your business and we will work hard to keep it.

What are your fees?

We charge 8% of rents collected; We charge a start up fee of $200, but no advertising fee for your initial listing. We do not charge an annual fee if the tenants decide to renew their leases, or when you hire us to manage your occupied property. If your property vacates, we will charge a fee of $100.00 per month for advertising. We have seen the ‘nickel and dime’ approach to property management. Property owners do not like it and we want to keep it simple for you.

How can I reach you?

Once established with ASAPM, you will be provided phone numbers for the owners of the company. We know first hand how difficult it can be to reach some property managers. That’s not how we do business. You will be able to reach us and we will answer the phone whenever possible. If you do get sent to voicemail, we will call you back right away. We understand how busy you are during the day, so we will make ourselves available during the evenings and on Saturday when it’s convenient for you to talk.

Where can I reach you?

ASAPM keeps it simple. Both owners live in Boise, Idaho. We keep overhead low in order to keep your costs down. Other property management firms will boast of their large offices and staff. However, is there someone available to you when you need them? Will they answer your call right away or schedule time to meet you right away? WE WILL! If you need us, please call and if you need to meet with us, we make ourselves available at a time and place convenient for you.

Why do I need a property manager?

If you are reading this, you probably have a long list of your own reasons. ASAPM wants to take the stress of property management away from you. We will handle collecting your rent, advertising, and overseeing the process to ensure your property is “rent-ready”. We have professionals working for us who can take care of cleaning, carpets, paint, sprinklers, yard care, plumbing, HVAC, electrical and appliance issues, etc. We will screen the applicants, take care of the maintenance and after-hours calls. Let us take care of inspections and handling move-in, move-out and routine inspections for your investment property.

How do you arrive at the rental amount?

To figure a rental rate we do an analysis of current market trends. We look at comparable rentals and take into consideration the condition, amenities and general appeal.

How fast can you rent my property?

Many factors determine the how quickly we can rent a property. We have found that typically four factors will determine this:
1. Season- The market tends to flux, depending on what time of year it is. We have found that typically the Ada County market is better in the warmer months, April-October. We do rent properties all year long, however, these are the best months.
2. Location-Sought after locations such as the North End or near certain school districts.
3. Showing quality/Curb appeal-The better a property shows the more desirable it becomes.
4. Price-How competitively it is priced?

How do you show the property?

ASAPM schedules showings 7 days a week. We coordinate showings with the busiest schedules to provide access to all of our properties.

What factors determine a good market and a slow market?

One of the major factors which determines the rental and real estate market values is the work industry in the surrounding area. When work is readily available housing will become more and more in demand.
Boise, and the Treasure Valley, is a desirable place to live based on low unemployment, median income, home value growth and home affordability.

No.1 Best Cities to Move to in 2014 (Simple Moving Labor April 2014)
No. 2 Best City for Raising a Family (Forbes, April 2012)
Best College Football Stadiums (CNN Travel, November 2011)
No. 8 Most Underrated City in the West (Life Magazine, June 2010)
Best Downtown in the Rocky Mountain West (Brookings Institute Scholar, April 2009)
No. 4 Best Cities to Live, Work and Play (Kiplinger.com, May 2008)

What do I need to do to get my property ready for rental?

ASAPM has found that the better a property shows, the faster we can rent it. Sometimes touch up paint is needed, carpets need to professionally cleaned, appliances need to be in good working order and a thorough professional deep cleaning gets the property ready to show. We will do a thorough walk-through of your property and give you a complete analysis of what can and should be done to make sure it is “rent–ready”.

What about utilities?

ASAPM will ensure utilities stay on when the property is vacant. Once a tenant gives notice, we will call the utilities about 1 week prior to the vacancy to ensure the utilities are taken out of the tenant’s name and put into ours. We require landlord agreements be put in place for both Idaho Power and Intermountain Gas. This ensures these two utilities are never turned off. We will assist you with this process.

How long does it take for the property to be advertised?

Once you are become our client, we can have your vacant property posted to our website the next business day. A sign will be placed in the yard and/or window the next day as well. Color photos will be on our website in two business days as well as a detailed description (as long as we are able to photograph the property). We will put up a marketing video as soon as the property is in “rent-ready” condition.

Does ASAPM do a background check on perspective tenants?

Here at ASAPM we do our best to put quality individuals your home. Our background check is extensive and in accordance with Fair Housing Laws. Our background check consists of: Credit Check, Criminal Check, Prior Rental History Check and Income Verification.

Should I rent my property to tenants with pets?

That decision is yours. However, people in Idaho love their pets. If you decide to not allow pets it will limit the prospects that we attract. The Humane Society says 62% of American households have pets. In our experience, that is correct. Limiting your renting audience to 38% of the population will extend the time it will take to rent your property.

What if the tenants don't pay the rent?

We are in constant contact with our tenants. We pride ourselves in putting quality people in our properties. If we, however, do not receive payment we start a "three-day process" demanding the rental payment. After this time, the eviction process can begin and this can take anywhere from 30-45 days. It is always financially better for all involved if a solution can be worked out. If the tenant has experienced a one-time event which is causing them a financial hardship, and there have been no previous problems with them, it is better for you and the tenant if we give them a chance to catch up, if there is reason to believe they can do so. If the tenant has demonstrated an ongoing pattern of late payments, broken promises about payments and/or evasiveness, we know from experience that eviction is the best course of action.
Each situation is unique and we make our decisions based on what is best for you and your home in the long run. That said, we always proceed with the legal notices required for eviction regardless of any other factors. We will simply postpone the actual filing of the eviction if the tenant is showing favorable efforts toward resolution.

What is the best time of year to rent my property?

People are always moving and relocating no matter what time of year it is. We have found that the rental season coincides with the school year in terms of our busy season.

How do you make sure the tenant is taking good care of my home while renting?

There are several ways we have of knowing this. Above all, careful tenant selection from the outset protects your property from being rented to irresponsible people. During the initial lease term, we will inspect the interior of the property at least twice, usually around the 3-4 month mark and then again before we offer to rent the property to them for another year. We also may have occasion to enter the property for repair or maintenance and will use the opportunity to have a look. If we are fortunate enough not to have any maintenance or repairs over an extended period of time, we will schedule a preventative cleaning and maintenance walk-through to make sure that there are not any unreported problems at the property.
We also do regular drive-by inspections so we know the condition of the lawn and landscape as well, so we know how the tenants are treating the exterior of the property in general. If we see too many vehicles, unapproved pets, weeds, dry lawns, etc., we take action immediately. Our lease is extensive and extremely thorough.

What do you do if a tenant is not taking care of the property as they should, or you discover unauthorized pets?

We give the tenant an opportunity to correct the situation and usually they will. If the problem persists, we will make a decision based on that specific situation.

How do you handle maintenance requests?

For emergencies, tenants may call us 24 hours a day. If the maintenance is not an emergency, we receive a repair request through our website. We may contact the tenant and ask them questions, which will help us determine the exact nature of the problem before sending a service technician. We also make sure it is not something the tenant can fix themselves (e.g., reset button on the disposal, tripped breaker) before your money is spent on a service call. After determining that there is a legitimate problem, we will send the appropriate service vendor to make the repair.
We tell our tenants that we are able to handle most repair requests within 1-3 working days, and in fact are usually able to do so. Comfort items such as A/C, no hot water or heat, receive highest priority and are usually attended to the same or next business day.

How informed will I be about what happens with my property?

Absent any special considerations unique to you or your property, our rule of thumb is this: If something may cause a potential interruption in your ordinary cash flow (loss of tenant or major repair), we will let you know right away. Other than that, the saying "no news is good news" is most appropriate. Non-emergency items will be communicated along with your monthly statements and, of course, we encourage you to contact us anytime you have a question or wish to discuss something.
We know some owners desire a level of involvement that our property management system is not designed to accommodate. We try to make sure you are a good match for our style of property management. Part of this process is this FAQ section so you can obtain a sense of our operations.
If you are a worrisome property owner who needs constant involvement, we may not be a good match for your needs. The property owners who appreciate us the most are ones that truly want everything handled for them turn-key and don't want to be bothered unless something important is happening.

How do I know you won't spend my money on large repairs without my approval?

This is a legitimate fear. We promise in writing not to do that. For ordinary maintenance and repairs of less than $300, we take care of it without notifying you. You will find out when you receive your monthly statement. If we think a repair might exceed $300, we will call you and let you know what is happening, what we think should be done, and what the estimated cost might be.
Sometimes expenses such as replacing a bad water heater, a roof leak that needs patching or repair, or emergency A/C and furnace repairs are unavoidable. In those cases where 1) the health or safety of a tenant is an issue, or 2) in instances where there is only one option to consider or 3) the property will incur damage if immediate action is not taken, we will initiate the repair work, even if it is higher than the $300 limit, and then let you know of the situation and what we are doing about it. Mainly, we don't think important repairs should be delayed while we try to contact you for permission to do the obvious.

How much do you charge the tenant for security deposit? And who holds the security deposit?

We typically charge a tenant 100% of one full months' rent. This is what will be asked by most property owners and managers. Security deposits are held in a trust. The trust account is not touched unless the tenant has vacated or been evicted. At that time, any tenant related turnover-costs are removed from the security deposit and the remaining balance is returned to the tenant within 30 days of the vacancy.

When do you mail the owner's checks and statements?

Owner's checks and statements are sent (usually electronically, directly to your bank account) by the 12th day of each month. Most months you will have your check and statement in hand by the 13th.

Are your property management fees negotiable?

No. We don't try and compete against lower priced property management companies or realtors who practice property management as a side business. The ultimate cost of using a property manager is determined by many things other than the fee charged. Namely, communication and the efficiency and manner in which maintenance and tenant relationship problems are handled. We feel that our set of services, our systems, and the experience and expertise we offer are a great value at the fee structure we have established.