Property Owner & Real Estate Investor FAQ:

If I have my property managed by American West Properties Property Management, can you save me money?


In most cases we have found that our fees are more than offset by our ability to obtain higher rents, less delinquency, lower vacancy rates, lower repair costs, and a faster turn around of vacating units.  In short, your cash flow will be better than if you try to manage all of the day-to-day burdens yourself. The Owner can also usually write off these management expenses and get a schedule E tax deduction for these services.
Our services help to PROTECT your investment, ENHANCE your cash flow, and SAVE your valuable time. You will be better off with Professional Property Management... Especially when that management is from a company that also is an owner / investor!  

Do I lose control of my property once you start to manage it?

No. We work for you, and with you, and guide you in setting the parameters not defined by law.  We are also real estate investors, and will help you through the management, tax, accounting, and even resale or 1031 conversion of your investment property.

Do you manage only residential property?

We are specialists in the management of residential and small commercial properties.

Do you charge the tenant a security deposit? What about a pet fee?

Yes. Our policy is that the security deposit is typically one month's rent for unfurnished properties. Pets are not allowed without your permission except service animals. When pets are allowed, an additional pet fee typically is required for each cat, dog or other animal.  Any damage above and beyond the pet deposit remain the tenants responsibility.  The pet deposit is used to offset the costs of a mandatory steam cleaning that is done on your carpet after the Residents vacate.

What happens to the tenant's security deposit? Do you send it to me?

We can return it to you or we can keep it into a trust fund according to state law. The owner is not required to place the deposit into a separate account but must be able to properly return the security deposit (after making lawfully allowed deductions) within 21 days as required by California law. There are currently no requirements for owners to pay interest on security deposits unless you live in select rent-controlled areas.   The move out checklist documents the condition of your property at Lease termination. Any damage expenses beyond normal wear are deducted from the security deposit along with any other money owned by the tenant. The balance is returned to the tenant within the legal deadline of move out.

The new legislation is confusing. Do you keep up with all the changing rules and regulations?

Yes. we keep abreast of the changes affecting rental properties locally and statewide. Tenants and landlords, have a lot of rights in California. The rules and regulations are constatntly changing. We stay up to date on the latest changes.

Do you insure my property when you manage it?

No. You maintain your own personal Property insurance coverage (either an amended homeowners policy for residence rented to others, or a Business Owners Policy (BOP).   We recommend that you obtain loss of use coverage in the event the home is damaged and becomes uninhabitable while being repaired or rebuilt in the event of damage.  This will protect you from lost rental income.  You should also insure personal property not part of the dwelling (refrigerator, washer, dryer, etc.), and should also obtain, at a minimum, a $1M umbrella liability coverage in the event of physical injury on your property while the home is rented.   We require that we are named as an additional insured under your rental property policy.  You should also check to see that you have coverage during extended vacancies as some rental insurance policies only cover 60 day vacancies.  Contact your insurance professional for more information on rental property coverage to ensure that you are fully covered for all of the risks and issues facing rental property owners.  We will gladly recommend insurance companies interested in writing insurance on your property.  We stipulate in our Lease that the Tenant is required to obtain renters insurance to cover only their possessions in the event of damage. 

Will I know what is going on with my property?

Yes. We will communicate with you throughout our contract. We will contact you at reasonable times to discuss re
pairs and notify you of any tenant requests to vacate. Plus, throughout the contract, we will keep you aware of other issues that may arise.  We summarize all activities occurring with your rental property each month.

During vacancies, you will need to check up on your property to ensure that your water is turned off, and that your heat is functioning in the winter months as we do not provide regularly scheduled visits to your property while we are showing it to prospective tenants.   You should also ensure that the yard is mowed and snow and ice are removed during the times that the home is vacant.  We can arrange for these services if requested by the owner.  You should also notify us of any maintenance issues or repairs that may be required so that they can be addressed before the new tenants take possession.

Do you qualify all applicants that want to rent my property?

Yes. Our application is designed to generate complete information from each prospective tenant. We process all applications to screen the applicants.  We have specific guidelines for tenant screening that are consistently and fairly applied to all applicants. In general, an applicant must have good rental history to qualify. 

Do you guarantee the tenants that you place in my rental property?

No. We do everything legally possible to thoroughly screen each applicant to make sure that they will be good, responsible tenants. We also closely manage properties during tenancy including periodic exterior property inspections, sending regular maintenance reminders, and providing quick follow-up on delinquencies. However, it is impossible to guarantee that at some point there may not be a problem. Things change in people's lives. They may lose their job, get a divorce, or have a death in the family. If there is a problem, we stay on top of it to make sure that any issues are handled quickly and effectively to preserve your cash flow. 

Do you advertise vacancies?

Yes. We start marketing the vacancy as soon as we receive notice from the tenant of their intention to move. We know where to advertise most effectively to find the best tenants, quickly.   We will produce better prospects sooner, and will minimize vacancies, which is likely your biggest expense.  We know the rent values, vacancy factors, and time on the market in your area.  We will sometimes place a sign on the property.  We then advertise in the local community and web-based resources, and additionally disclose the availability to our relocation network, and through a Realtor referrals network.   Advertising costs are passed on to the owner, but will be your most cost effective investment in finding a responsible, high quality tenant quickly.  We also pay commissions out through our relocation and real estate network, which is included in the leasing fee.

Do you handle problems late at night?

Yes, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Tenants are given our number when they move in and in the case of an emergency they are directed to call us 24/7. We will talk with the tenant to determine how best to proceed. Many times we can solve minor  problem over the phone, and initiate a scheduled non-emergency repair.

Can I still use my favorite plumber, AC Company or handyman?

Yes. We will be happy to contact the companies or individual's you specify as long as they are actually licensed, insured and in the business of performing the required work.  This will apply only to those contractors that have actually previously provided work for you on your home. 

Do you pay the bills for me?

Yes. We will gladly pay for repairs for you from owner funds. There must, of course, be sufficient cash flow from the property to cover such expenses and we may require you to set up a reserve fund for this purpose or send a check to cover the expense.  Recurring bills like utility bills during vacancies, association fees, or mortgage payments are paid directly by the owner.  EFT / Bill pay systems are available to owners to directly pay bills conveniently and reliably.  Utility companies can also set up a landlord account so that utilities automatically revert back to the owner at the end of each tenancy during the short intervals between tenants so that the utilities remain on at all times.

When do I get my monthly statement and check after the tenant pays their rent?

Rents are due on the 1st of each month, and there is a short grace period.  Sometimes, however, tenants pay late, or if payments are received by check, they may take a few days to clear the bank. We make every effort to collect delinquent rents in the event of a late payment.  To ensure that all tenants' rent payments clear the bank monthly statements are typically sent on the 10th of each month, or next business day if this date falls on a weekend or holiday.   Cash ACH/EFT distributions to owners are subsequently posted on the 15th of each month, or next business day.  We will perform an ACH direct deposit into your bank account with the proceeds from your rental payment, less maintenance, repair, and management fees.  As required by Internal Revenue Service regulations, we will prepare and submit a 1099-MISC form showing the total gross rent income that we collected on your behalf during the year.  A copy of this form will be posted to your Owner folder as well as sent to you in January.  We also summarize all of your annual repair, improvement, cleaning, and other rental costs as required so you can quickly and easily file your tax return. 

Are your management fees competitive?

Yes. Our range of services allow us to provide very competitive management fees based on desired level of service.   We feel we offer some of the lowest fees and the best service available in the Bay Area area.   We do not charge a management fee while your property is vacant.  We also pay referral commissions out through our relocation and real estate network, which is included in your leasing fee.   Just like with some discount Real Estate brokers, if you don't offer referral or market rate buyer agent commissions, you will not get the marketing exposure you need to bring tenants.   We have found this formula to be very effective in finding and placing qualified tenants, which reduces your biggest expense - vacancies.

Don't trust your most valuable asset to the lowest cost manager.  Hire an experienced fellow investor who knows management, taxation, low cost maintenance, 1031 exchanges, etc.  You will find that your results will be worth it!

Does your management agreement give you exclusive right to sell my property?

No. We can sell your property if you would like us to, but it is not a requirement of our management contract.  We will provide facilitation services for you and your tenant in the event that an agreement to buy the property is arranged by us.  We charge a nominal sales commission for arranging this type of sale.

Are you licensed?

Our Property Managers and Real Estate Agents are licensed by the California Department of Real Estate and the City of San Jose. 

Can you start managing my properties today?

Yes. We can start the process immediately. Contact us today to set up a no obligation consultation to discuss your property in detail.

If you have a question that was not answered here or require further information about our services, please feel free to contact us at (408) 981-1565 or by email and we will gladly respond within 24 hours.



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