Q: What professional affiliations do you belong to?
A: Maryland does not require our property managers to be licensed nor is there any regulating
body? So, unfortunately, most property managers have very little training or guidance. Select a
property manager that is licensed, is affiliated with a professional organization, and who has
been professionally educated in property management. I am a licensed real estate agent and a
member for the National Real Estate Association, Maryland Real Estate Association, and the Prince
George’s County Real Estate Association. We are also a member of the National Association of
Property Managers (NARPM).
Q: What type of property do you specialize in?
A: Some companies specialize in single-family homes and other companies specialize in large
complexes. Pick a property manager that specializes in your type of rental. Caster Management
does not specialize in large apartment complexes. Our portfolio consists of single-family properties
and homeowners associations.
Q: What is your tenant screening procedure?
A: Some property managers in Maryland do little screening. Many owners are very tempted to go with
these companies because they also boast higher rents. Unfortunately, that tends to be a short-term gain,
as the damages, eviction costs, and re-rent costs are much greater. It is advisable that you select a
PM that checks, that utilizes a professional screening company to verify: credit, criminal background,
landlord references, social security ID check, and employment.
Q: What is your management termination procedure?
A: Owners can cancel anytime with a 30 day written notice.
Q: What is your policy on returning phone calls from tenants and owners?
A: We return all calls within 24 hours. Most of our correspondence with both the
tenant and owners are via email. This allows for written documentation.
Q: Can I use my own contractors for repairs?
A: Yes and No. We have put just about every contractor to the test. Cost is always important,
but as you know, sometimes you get what you pay for. So the contractors we use now, have
proven to provide low costs and quality workmanship. Most of our contractors are small companies
with little overhead. We believe that this is how we can keep costs down as well as ensure the
quality of workmanship. Also, we give them a lot of work, so we typically get better pricing
than anyone else. With that said, we are always willing to try someone new to put them through
the test. However, we do require that they have all appropriate licenses and registrations,
complete a W-9, have worker's compensation insurance, and have a general liability insurance policy.
If we and the property owner agree to test out their contractor, the instructions need to come
through our office. We have a work order system and if we do anything outside of the system, things can go wrong.
Q: How long does it take to rent out a house?
A: Renting a property depends on price, condition, location, and the market.
Our goal is to select a qualified tenant as soon as possible, but no later than 45-days.
Since we have access to valuable rental statistics, it’s our job to advise you on price,
condition, location, and market conditions so that we can achieve this goal.
I want to make changes to your management agreement
A: Caster Management LLC has never had a dispute with a property owner that required a
judge to decide. Our management agreement is designed to protect Caster Management and the
property owner. We do not allow any changes or omissions from the management agreement
because once executed; it is filed away and never looked at again. Our systems are built
around that management agreement and we won’t know that your agreement is different than anyone else’s.
Q: When do I get paid? Why do I not get paid until after the 10th?
A: Caster Management exerts all of its energy the first week of each month on collecting rents.
Adhering to trust accounting requirements, we must let rent checks season before dispersing funds
to the owner. Therefore we hold off on completing owner statements and depositing funds directly
into our property owner’s accounts until after the 10th of each month.
Q: Who keeps the late fees?
A: Collecting late rent is a very difficult job. We could actually get away with less staff if
all tenants paid their rent on time. And if tenants would just communicate when they don’t pay
their rent on time, it would be a lot easier. But as it is, our leasing agents have to turn into
debt collectors and begin a very aggressive regiment to collect money on behalf of our property owners.
So, Caster Management retains all late fees to help pay for this extra and unpleasant labor.
Q: What if the tenant stops paying?
A: Rents are due on the 1st day of each month, but not penalized until after the 5th day of
the month if the rent has not been received by close-of-business on the 5th. On the 6th day
of each month, our leasing agents put on their debt collector hats and start calling. Soon
after, we deliver 3-day notices to the tenants to pay rent and late-fee amounts due, or vacate,
for all tenants who failed to communicate and/or make arrangements to pay rent and late fees.
About mid-month, our General Manager will be contacting you and giving you a full report of
what actions have been taken, as well as making recommendations on how to proceed.
Q: How much does an eviction cost?
A: Costs can vary, but the typical eviction is $175-$800 (filing-full eviction). Both the eviction
costs and the service to the tenants are a cost that is passed onto the tenant. Sometimes they have
enough deposit to cover the costs, other times we have to get a judgment against them and begin collections.
Q: What do you do if the tenants ruin my property?
Q: Who holds the tenant security deposit?
A: Because Caster Management's tenant screening is so thorough, tenant damages are limited.
However, even with the strictest of criteria, things happen. The hope is that the tenant's
security deposit will cover the damages, but unfortunately, the market has caused security
deposit amounts to drop and in many cases, there won't be enough to pay for the damages. In
that event, we get a judgment and collect the funds in small amounts over a period of years.
Basically, this concern is why our acceptance criteria is as strict as it is. It can take
months of rent to cover the costs of one bad tenant. This is also why more and more property
owners are turning to professional property managers to manage their rentals.
Q: Should I accept pets?
A: According to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association, 63% of Americans have at least
one pet. If you don’t accept pets in your rental you automatically disqualify 63% of your applicants.
Sometimes after a rental sits vacant for an extended amount of time, the owners change their mind and
agree to accept pets. Then almost immediately, the vacancy is filled. Perhaps they lost hundreds or
thousands of dollars in lost rent while waiting for a tenant. That lost rent probably exceeds any
possible damage caused by the pet. If your rental property is a 4 plex or larger, we typically advise
you only accept small pets because generally, the common grounds are small. If your rental property
is a single family home or duplex, then we advise that you consider all types and sizes of pets.
If the property owner should decide to allow pets, we have a very strict pet policy that includes an
increased security deposit and additional pet rent that goes to the property owner.
Some owners have strong allergies to certain kinds of pets while others just won’t be able to sleep
at night knowing they have a 75 pound Labrador in their home. No problem, we completely understand
and we will find good tenants who do not have pets and we will ensure that they comply to that rule.
Additionally, some pet owners simply neglect to care for their pet and damages occur. First Rate
Property Management will certainly hold the tenants accountable for these damages and the costs, but
if the security deposit isn’t enough to cover them, it will be a slow process to recover them. So we
totally understand if the property owner believes that the negatives outweigh the positives.
Q: Do you sell homes too?
Q: How do I get paid?
A: After the 13th of the month, you can check your checking account to see the funds automatically
deposited. Depending on your bank, this may take up to 24-hours from the time we initiated the
Q: Why do I want a landlords insurance policy?
A: Be sure to communicate with your insurance agent that the property is a non-owner
occupied rental property. There are additional riders and coverages that do not cost much
that provide you with added coverage. The most important is the ability to recover lost rents.
A common example is a severe water loss or fire, which requires the tenants to vacate in order
to make the necessary repairs. With the proper coverage, your insurance company will cover the
damages plus the lost rents, as well as the tenant's temporary housing costs.