Rentals and Renting Houses: Montgomery AL
What to Expect
Air University, Maxwell Air Force Base, provides a very large number of student officers requiring annual rentals. This factor, along with other short term living requirements in the area, help to create a rental market with a high demand. The military schools start during July and August. September would be a renters market with homes not already rented looking forward to a cold, lonely, no rental income, winter unless the property is occupied. Renters start looking for rental properties in early spring or just after Easter for the summer. So if you wait until June, most of the better properties may have been rented. Available to Military personnel is the online Automated Home Referral Network for submission of rental properties. This service provides a military member the ability to search on-line properties for rent in the local area or submit their properties for renting.
An investor has the goal of obtaining 1% of the value of the house as monthly rent. This would be optimum and many owners will take less depending on their monthly payment. Very General Guidelines with many exceptions: $400 - $500 trailer, $500-$700 apartment or very small house, $700-$1000 3-4 bedroom house, $1000+ may include pool, covered parking extra space etc. Houses with covered parking or garages are in short supply among rental properties but additional storage can be obtained in rental storage units with some being climate controlled.
You will be able to find rentals from three sources; the first from Maxwell Base Housing office, if you are military (see above), second directly from the owner using local advertising or third, from a real estate agent who is "property managing". Generally a property manager charges the owner of the rental a management fee of up to 10% of the rent collected and some remuneration on any late fees along with a possible upfront fee for acquiring and processing a renter. Also in the beginning a renter may be charged an application processing fee and or credit report fee. Animals may require additional rent or deposit or both.
The property management fees are paid by the owner but only one person is writing a check so understand that in your rent payment, part of the money is being used to pay for property management services. Good "property management" will assist greatly in making the rental experience a pleasant one. As they inquire about you, you can also inquire about them. - Who do you call when there is a problem? What is their ability to handle any maintenance problems? How many properties do they manage? and do they have a staff which assists in the management of their properties? Do they have any maintenance employees that work directly for them? What are the procedures to obtain repairs? emergency repairs? How long have they been in business? And how long have they been managing this particular property? Could they provide you the names of the previous renters so you can check on the property condition and the quality of services they provide? Did the previous renters receive their security deposit back in full? If not, why not?
You can always negotiate on the rent payments prior to signing a lease. Consider other factors which you may offer to obtain a "better" deal. Most owners will discount for a long term lease so the house will not be vacant for a month or longer on an annual basis. No children or no pets is always attractive to a landlord since both cause additional wear on the property. If it is winter and your looking to eventually purchase a home consider offering a 6 month lease so the property will be back on a summer schedule. If it is winter and the house is vacant you are playing with a strong hand. What makes for a good rental is different then a good homepurchase since resale is not a factor. But, if you are looking to buy you may consider offering a lease/purchase option, with the potential future sale at an agreed price you now have the potential to also negotiate on the overall rent or the use of part of the rent to be used to assist in buying the home.
Most property managers perform a credit and background check to protect the property which has been trusted into their care. In the application process you will authorize the property manager to obtain a credit check (possibly you and spouse), your employment history, and permission to check on previous leasing experiences while some may perform additional checks. Some property managers set the standard the same as if you were buying the house. Renting from owners directly can in some cases be much easier.
The condition of the property MUST be in writing and signed by the owner or property manager and the renting party(s). This protects your security deposit and also allows for the use of the security deposit to correct deficiencies you may have caused. Procedures for having your security deposit returned should be covered in the lease agreement.
Where to LookThere are a number of local real estate companies which offer property management and rentals. The first place to start to look for a rental may be the Bulletin Board, a local weekly magazine available in most gas stations and convenience stores for about $2. This publication is free to non commercial advertiser! Since the magazine requires the advertiser to update their ads weekly the information it contains is usually up to date. The Bulletin Board is also an online publication with Keyword Search and topic directories. Another online source which is growing locally is Craigslist for Montgomery and finally a smaller site Some Rentals.com
Second source you should consider will be the local news paper's classified ads. There are free magazines dedicated to apartment listings which you can find in the "free" racks in the service stations etc. If you are coming to Maxwell AF Base or Gunter Annex, the base housing office has an extensive list of rentals which they maintain. And, if you know a military member already renting locally, check on the availability of their property.
The following is a limited list of real estate companies in the local area performing property management services. This list is not exhaustive and will be updated when information is provided. Also, in the lower end of the rent range, apartments (duplex, quadplex, etc.) may be included in their property listings.
(All area codes 334)
Phoenix Preferred Properties
Property management and residential leasing services for the Montgomery,
Prattville, Millbrook, Deatsville, and Wetumpka areas
David Kahn & Company
Managing units renting from $550 - $1,900
277-5990 Toll-free 800/370-9096 Fax 365-6865
CENTURY 21 Southern Star, Property Management
(Prattville / Millbrook)
Managing approximately 100 units
800-420-6995, local 365-4511