Information for Tenants & Real Estate Property Owners

Discover answers from RedStar to frequently asked property management questions

FAQs

Can I live in the property while you work?

Depending on the scope of work, yes! We go to great lengths to contain our work to the specific part of the home or building being renovated. When work begins, we install floor protection and set up barriers around the construction area to keep your home clean. When work ends, we offer a professional cleaning free of charge.

Can you help me with property renovations?

Our principals are licensed and insured general contractors with broad experience in construction management. Click the link to find out more!

How do you advertise my vacancies for rent?

  • We will take crisp photos of the vacant unit
  • A friends and family advertisement is sent to our large network of tenants
  • Units are posted on Trulia, Zillow, Apartments.com, Craigslist, Lovely and Many More
  • If permitted, a professional sign is posted in front of the property

Do you charge a set up fee?

Yes. We charge an initial $500 start up fee. Our fee pays for:

  • Collection and organization of property documents including cloud backup
  • Entry of all tenant contact and lease information into Buildium property software
  • Entry of all owner contact and agreement information into Buildium property software
  • Set up of Resident Online Payment portal
  • Set up of Individual Property Bank Account (if necessary)
  • Transfer of existing utility bills to RedStar Property Management
  • Key Copy, Label and Test
  • Face-to-Face meeting with all existing tenants
  • Existing vendor contract review and revision
  • Initial property inspection

Can you help me find another investment?

Our principals are licensed Realtors and experienced investors. We are constantly looking for excellent deals throughout Chicagoland. Click the link to find out more!

Do you pay my property taxes and insurance?

We do offer bill payment services to clients including payment of property taxes and insurance from the real estate operating account.

How often will you walk-through my building?

We make an effort to conduct monthly walk-throughs of common areas. We suggest a bi-annual walk-through of all units along with furnace, water heater and smoke detector inspections.

Do you offer a guarantee for your work?

We believe in doing quality work the first time around. However, if concerns arise, we stand behind our completed work with a 1-Year limited warranty. We value your business and want to be your first call on the next project!

Do you work in mid-rise and high-rise buildings?

We have extensive experience working with mid and high rise management companies and condominium boards. We are familiar with the rules governing construction in large multifamily buildings and the materials necessary to ensure the job is done right.

How does project payment work?

On projects under $100K, we request 50% of the overall job cost prior to initiating the job with 50% upon satisfactory completion of the project.

On projects over $100K, we request 40% of the overall job cost prior to initiating the job with 40% paid upon completion of rough carpentry and trades and 20% upon satisfactory completion of the project.

For your convenience, we do accept online payment through QuickBooks online invoicing or by certified check.

Do you post a sign on my building?

In most municipalities, a sign with management name and phone number is required. Although we do not require a management sign be posted, we do encourage potential and existing tenants, police and fire workers and neighbors to stay in touch. A professional sign is the best way to do that.

How long will your units be vacant?

There is no way to predict how long a unit will remain vacant, even in the best market conditions. We do work diligently using our decades of experience to rent the property quickly. Finding a quality long-term tenant with the ability to pay rent on-time and keep the property in good condition is our key objective.

How much do you charge for an Estimate?

Estimates are Free! Let one of our qualified contractors come out to your home or project, discuss your vision and present a comprehensive and complimentary cost estimate.

How long will it take to complete my job?

As part of our comprehensive estimate, we will provide a job length estimate based on our years of project experience.

What are your quality standards for tenants?

We hold our tenants to the highest standards. Each applicant will require:

  • A Complete and Thorough Application
  • A Credit Check
  • A Criminal Background & Eviction Check
  • Income verification
  • A Landlord Referral

What can I expect when working with RedStar Property Management?

RedStar Property Management strives to provide the best property management services in Chicagoland. Our goal is to provide the personal service that only a family business can offer. We protect the value of your property through proactive management and treat it as if it were our own.

What do I need to get started?

  • Reach out to Us for a Brief Phone Call
  • Conduct an Informal Site Tour
  • Sign a Management Agreement
  • Provide Proof of Property Insurance
  • Provide Access to a Property Bank Account
  • Transfer all utility bills to the management office address (if any)
  • Provide Current Tenant Leases and Security Deposit Receipts (if any)
  • Provide a Complete Set of Keys to the Property
  • We will send out a welcome letter to tenants and begin effectively and efficiently managing your investment

What do you take for a security deposit?

  • In the City of Chicago: Due to the complex rules governing security deposits in Chicago, we encourage owners to take a Non-Refundable Move in Fee of $400 per adult tenant.
  • In the Suburbs: We suggest a deposit equal to two months of rent to be held in a savings account separate from the operating bank account.
  • Pet Fees: We suggest a $250 per cat non-refundable pet fee and a $400 per dog non-refundable pet fee. We do not suggest allowing dogs in rental properties.

What funds do you take from the tenants at move-in?

We collect all move-in fees and/or deposits plus one full month of rent at lease signing. If applicable, we will prorate the second month’s rent if tenants move in after the 1st of the preceding month. The rental commission will be paid with proceeds from 1st month’s rent.

What if I need an eviction?

Unfortunately, evictions happen and we are prepared to deal with them carefully, professionally and effectively. We and our team of vetted attorneys have a comprehensive understanding of Illinois eviction procedure. Because evictions can be long & labor intensive, we do charge a one-time fee of $500 upon service of official notice.

What is a Change Order?

Once we have agreed on the work to be performed, you may want to make changes along the way. Those changes and the difference in price that accompany them are called Change Orders.

What if I need to sell my building?

As active investors and licensed Realtors with a broad network of investor clients, we can help you maximize your property value and minimize the market time. Click the link to find out more!

What is a Lien Waiver?

When the project is complete, we will present a lien waiver to you in exchange for a release of liability and final payment. A Lien Waiver waives the contractor’s right to seek payment in the future for work performed. You should always request a lien waiver once work has been completed.

What should I do to get my property ready for advertising?

Prior to tenant move-in, and before advertising when possible, our vendors complete the following turnover items: carpet cleaning, blind cleaning, general cleaning, paint touchup and general unit inspection.

What is your late fee policy?

We take late rent and assessments seriously. Tenants are allowed a 5-day grace period for payment per Illinois law followed by a $50 initial late fee plus $10 per additional day. Five-day notices are delivered to tenants promptly on the 6th-day of unpaid rent and eviction proceedings begin on the 10th-day of unpaid rent.

What should I expect after the initial walk-through?

Expect to receive within 5-business-days a comprehensive estimate outlining the specific scope of work to be completed, the cost estimate and payment schedule, the estimated timeline and contractual disclosures along with a State of Illinois Consumer Rights Brochure.

When do you collect the management fee and lease fee?

  • Lease Fee: Lease Fees are collected from the tenants 1st Month of Rent paid at Lease Signing
  • Management Fee: Management Fees are collected on the 15th of each month along with maintenance expenses from the operating account.

What should I expect when we meet?

First, expect a professional! We take pride in our appearance and punctuality. Next, expect to review the existing structure or space with our representative and discuss your vision and your purpose for the project. If you have pictures of similar projects you like, we’d like to see them. If not, we have plenty of examples of past work to show you.

Who handles my annual income tax?

Although we do prepare monthly and year-end statements and reports, a licensed CPA should review and file your tax returns. If you don’t have one, let us know! We are happy to make a referral.

Why do you take pictures of the jobsite?

As you can see, we are very proud of transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary. We take photos along the journey to document that transformation for you and our future clients.

Will I be charged for renewals?

Yes. We charge $250 for lease renewals. Our fee pays for:

  • Annually updated and reviewed leases to maximize owner protections
  • A Face-to-Face review of our lease with renewing tenant to ensure they understand their duties and obligations under our contract
  • A comprehensive inspection of the unit and appliances to ensure your investment is protected.

When will I receive my invoice and statement for each month?

Management & Maintenance Invoices and Monthly Statements are sent on the 15th of each month. If the 15th falls on a weekend or holiday, invoices and statements will be sent on the next business day.

Why does my building need a separate operating account?

The autonomous operating account ensures your assets are not commingled with other funds, which maximizes reporting clarity and minimizes legal risk to the owner.

Are property management companies profitable?

Property management can be a profitable enterprise and these companies can often earn 15-20 percent of the revenue.

Are property management companies regulated?

Property management companies must follow the rules and regulations of the state in which they operate. Most states require at least a real estate brokers license and some require that property managers (and property management companies) have a specific license for managing community associations.

Are property management fees negotiable?

Depending on the company, residential and commercial property management fees are negotiable. There are often flat fees and percentages of the monthly rental value of the property.

Are property management fees tax deductible?

Maintenance expenses may be written off at their full cost and include activities such as patching walls, repairing broken windows or repairing appliances. Capital expenses that must be depreciated are those that contribute to the value of your home or lengthen its useful life, such as a new roof, an addition or a renovated basement. Administrative expenses may also be written off in full and include advertising for your apartment, credit checks or legal fees. Contracting with a property management company falls under this category.

Can property management evict tenants?

Property managers can evict tenants/renters under specific conditions including if a tenant fails to pay rent, if a tenant posts a health or safety risk to the property or other renters, or if the tenant breaks the terms of a rental lease agreemtn.

Can property management raise rent?

Property management companies (and landlords) can increase rent, but typically only when the renter is under a month-to-month agreement and with 30 days notice in writing. In addition to the rent increases, property management companies can also change other terms of the rental agreement (under the same aforementioned conditions).

Can property management enter your apartment?

Both landlords and property managers can enter a tenant’s apartment or residence but only with advanced notice (typically of at least 24 hours) or for legitimate purposes such as the need to maintain a property or for emergency purposes.

Can you manage my building when work is completed?

We offer a complete suite of management services. Click the link to find out more!

How do you select a property management company?

Criteria to use when selecting a property management company include expertise in managing tenants, conducting property inspections, and handling general maintenance and upkeep.

How does property management work?

Property management companies are typically involved in the full tenant lifecycle, including advertising for and screening clients, taking care of property issues, managing general property maintenance, overseeing move-in’s, move-outs, and evictions.

How much can a landlord or property management company increase rent?

Property management companies and landlords can increase rent, but (depending on the state) often no more than 10% of the current rate and only when advanced notice (of at least 30 days) has been given to the tenant in writing.

How much does property management cost?

Property owners and real estate investors can safety expect to pay 10% of the monthly rental values in addition to expenses. Many companies also charge a monthly fee which can vary based on a number of factors including location, need, value, etc.

Is a professional property manager worth the cost?

Depending on the size of the property and a landlord/property owner’s available time, expertise or relationships, professional property management is worth the cost – which is typically a flat monthly fee and a percentage of the rental value of the property.

What are property management certifications?

There are many different property management certifications. The most common is the Certified property Manager (CPM) which is provided by the Institute of real Estate management (IREM). Other certifiations include Certified Apartment Manager (CAM), Certified Manager of Community Associations (CMCA), and Residential Management Professional (RMP).

What do property management companies do?

Depending on a landlord or property owner’s contractual arrangement with the company, property managers are often responsible for finding and screening tenants, taking care of repairs on the property, responding to any tenant issues or complaints, and managing capital improvements.

Why is property management important?

In general, property management is important for landlords and property owners to consider if they do not have the time, expertise or relationships necessary for proper upkeep of a rental or investment property.