Monday, October 23, 2017

Pitfalls of Poor Property Management



When searching for a property management company, be sure they have the qualifications necessary to properly manage your investment asset.  Here is a short guideline of some pit falls that owners fall into when hiring the wrong property manager.

1)  Improper or Failure to Execute Property Management Agreement.
If the company you are thinking of hiring does not have a formal Property Management Agreement, they are not following the law.  Nobody is permitted to perform property management functions without the owner giving them authorization to do so.  That is what a Property Management Agreement is for.  It outlines a time period, cancellation provisions, the Broker responsibility and the owner responsibility to the relationship that is established to manage your property.

What Top Notch Does:  We have a formal Property Management Agreement which outlines the relationship and the duties of each party involved.  We do not manage property without this Agreement.

2)  Lack of Training or Knowledge of the Law including that of staff members
Does the company you are interviewing have knowledge of the law to protect you?  If not, run! A property manager and it's staff members should understand many laws including discrimination and fair housing, American Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines, contract law including leasing laws, security deposit funds rules and regulations etc..

What Top Notch Does:  We have continual educational office meetings, webinars, in addition to cross-training.  We go to outside classes and conferences to network and learn best practice of property management.  Understanding Arizona Statutes and Residential Arizona Landlord Tenant laws is imperative so that we can protect you.

3)  High Turn Over of Staff Members
If you got used to dealing with one person in the office and then that person is gone, then you get used to the next person and then they are gone, this is concerning.  High turn over in staff is a reflection of the management or ownership staff.  Sure, people also leave good paying jobs, but the majority of turn overs is due to lack of respect, lack of a decent wage and micro-management.  This should be a red-flag.  If the management or ownership staff is unwilling to take care of their staff and have high turn over, how is your property getting cared for.

What Top Notch Does:  We treat our staff with the utmost respect.  We understand that everyone has a level of input that can help make the office run smoother.  If an employee feels appreciated and that their input is valued they feel like they are part of a company that cares.  We allow staff to be independent workers with their own style.  We are always open to new ideas and betters of improving.

4)  Poor Client Relationships (with owners and tenants)
If you are having a relationship with your property manager that is volatile, maybe you are just not a good fit.  Personalities clash.  Expectations were not established therefore not met. Why stay where there is frustration?  No respect for you or your tenant can lead to vacancies, expenses and added stress. 

What Top Notch Does:  We treat all parties involved with kindness fairness, respect and authority.  We have business relationships by setting expectations from the owner as well as the tenants.  We pride ourselves in conflict resolutions that are pleasing to both parties, but if we are unable to find a common ground we understand that maybe we are not a fit and make a mutual agreement to part friends.  We do not want to have hostile relationships with any owners or tenants.  This is not fun for anyone!

5)  Failure to document and organize files. 
If the company you are checking into or currently using cannot provide written documentation, photo documents or financial reports about your property, this is not good.  Property managers job is to help protect you.  They cannot do this thoroughly if they do not have proper documentation. 

What Top Notch does:  Document, Document, Document is our philosophy.  We use a software that has notes sections, email documentation and texting documentation capabilities.  This helps use keep record of all communications. 

6)  Lack of Proper Book-keeping Methods including trust accounts
Every month you should also receive a owner statement outlining any income and expenses for that month.  This helps you keep track of your expenses.  Arizona Department of Real Estate has strict guidelines for trust accounts, if they are not properly handled they are at risk of losing their license to operate.

What Top Notch Does:  Monthly the owners receive an owners statement including any work orders for work that was completed, outlining any income and expense for the property.  This will help you keep track of your income and expenses.    Per Arizona law all security deposits are held in a separate Trust Account.




Tuesday, July 18, 2017


How times flies when your having fun!  

I started pondering this statement last week when I realized how long it had been since I posted a blog.   I was thinking it had only been a couple of week when I looked to see it was the end of May when I posted my last blog.  WOW!  How can a little over a month go by and I have no concept of that amount of time that has just passed by?   It is a strange thing, this time stuff.   We set our clocks, our phones and any other timing device by this time which we follow every single day.  We set appointments by time.  We set parties by time and almost everything in our world is set by time.  

What if we did not have time?  What would our world look like?  I am guessing some level of chaos which eventually would end the civilization as we know it. 

I personally love structure, time is one of those things you can rely on giving us comfort that each day will come and go within a time frame.   A friend of mine's mother was murdered and I was not sure how to comfort my friend.  It was something I had never dealt with.  I called her husband and asked what I could do for them, buy them food, clean their house, take care of the kids etc.. and his response was so profound..... Just spend time with her, love her and cry with her!  Just spend TIME with her!?  What a concept huh?  I think we get busy in our day to day, we forget about those closest to us and TIME we should be spending with them instead of work stuff, appointment stuff.  I know all of that "stuff" is necessary for life to go round, but let us not be so busy we forget about the ones around us.  

When was the last time you called an old friend just to say hi - or spend time with them?
When was the last time you called your mother, your father, or brother or sister and asked them to just spend time with them?

Our value is not set on WHAT we do for a living but HOW we spend our time.  I, myself have to consciously remember to reach out and spend time with the people most important to me.  Let's do it!  Let's do it together and even as a society.  I am not talking a Facebook post or text, I mean a genuine phone call or visit, or lunch or will do your soul good!

Of course if you want to come by and say hi and spend some time talking about property management and/or real estate...come by or call Top Notch. 

Wednesday, May 31, 2017


Hello Folks, Summer has arrived!  

During the summer, kids are out of school, families go on vacations and it is a time to unwind.  The cool thing about living in Prescott & quad city areas is that there is always something going on.  I have created a list of fun stuff to do in Prescott and quad city areas and hope you enjoy some of them.  So here goes...


  • 1:  Prescott Frontier Days Parade
  • 3:  Kiwanis Kiddie Parade
  • 1-3:  Prescott Frontier Days Art & Crafts Show
  • 8-9:  20th Annual Prescott Indian Art Market
  • 23-24:  Shootout on Whiskey Row

  • 5:  14th Annual Western History Symposium
  • 10-12:  Arizona Cowboy Poets Gathering
  • 13-14:  Prescott Arts  Crafts Festival
  • 19:  5th Annual Sharlot's Winefest
  • 2:  Chino Valley FFA Corn Dinner 3-7pm
  • 7-10:  Yavapai County Fair
Other fun activities:

There are many parks and lakes in the area, walking paths, hiking and biking trails too 

Public Swimming Pools:
Mountain Valley Park - Prescott Valley

Of course this is not all of the fun things to do in the area, but it will get you started.  

Enjoy your summer and have fun! 

And of course, if you need us we are here to handle all of your 

property management and real estate needs.  

Friday, April 28, 2017


Top Notch has been selected and approved as an agency who can report rental payments to Experian RentBureau Credit Agency. 
This is a big deal! 

I am excited that Top Notch is being recognized as a key player in the property management industry. 

What does this mean for Us, Owners and for Tenants?

Owner Benefits:
 - Reduces tenants who skip out on their obligations
 - Improves any bad-debt recovery
 - More steady cash flow
 - Creates a better Tenant obligation to pay on time

Property Manager Benefits (also owner benefits):
 - Helps Identify highest quality residents
 - Stops repeat late payers and NSF payments
 - Avoid renting to serial skippers
 - Reducing Manual Verifications

Tenant Benefits:
 - Build credit history
 - Keeps Tenant accountable
 - Improves Credit Scores for Favorable payments


Rental Payments History Data Reporting:
1)  On time as well as late payments
2)  Bad Checks and/or insufficient funds (NSF)
3)  Lease Terms (beginning, end, move in and move out dates)
4)  Outstanding Balances and/or write-offs
5)  Rental Collection Activity

Why does this matter?
 - 108 Million of 308 Million US residents rent
 - Increasing number of life long renters
 - Many credit consumers who have no score also are renters
 - 64 million US consumers have insufficient or no credit history

Top Notch Property Management & Sales will continue to strive to better serve our clients and customers.   Call us today! 928-772-4801 or email at We will share other benefits to having our company manage your investment property.

Friday, April 7, 2017


This is an age-old question.  Why do property management companies inspect the homes you entrust to them to take care of?  It's easy...we have an obligation to take care of your asset in your absence. 

Fair enough, but what type of things are you looking for?  Well, I'm glad you asked....

Not only is your property manager contractually obligated to check the property, they have to keep an eye on the tenant.  If you are with a company that does not do inspections...RUN!  How can they protect your investment if they have no idea how the tenant is taking care of the home, who is actually living there, do you unknown pets living there and what kind of condition the home is in? 

Here is a simple outline of the items we look for when we do inspections on behalf of the owner:

1)  Overall condition of the home.  We are looking to be sure the tenant is maintaining the home, picking up after themselves and not damaging the home but we also are looking at your roof, fascia board/trim, yard, trees, settlement, possible leaks inside and more.   We want to keep you informed of deferred maintenance items on your home.   This can help you budget for these items and when the time comes to have those items addressed you are not surprised when it needs to be done.

2)  Hazards on the property.  Do the tenants have a propane tank in their bedroom?  What about those gasoline cans?  Is there "black" areas in the bathroom that could potentially be a hazard?  Is a dead tree threatening to fall on the home or a person?   The list is endless when looking for hazards that can affect the tenant or their guests but also the longevity of the home.

3)  Unauthorized Room-mates.  This could be a family member or a friend or acquaintance, that is staying on the couch or now occupying the home.  It is imperative that we know who is living at the home.  There are several reasons for this, but one of them is for safety and security of the tenants and neighbors. Each person 18 years and older must be screened and approved to live there.   If a incident occurs and it was "Joe" and you do not know who "Joe" is, how can that situation get resolved? Also, what if you have a 2 bedroom apartment and 5-6 people living there.  The more people the more wear and tear on the home and the higher the chance the home could get damaged. 

4)  Unauthorized Pets.  We all love our critters, but what if your homeowner has allergies and no pets are permitted?  What if the dog bites a neighbor and we do not know what type of dog or whose dog it is?  Animals also cause damage which is why an additional deposit is collected to help cover the expense of any damage.   Owner must agree to allow pets on the property, either by what type, size, breed etc..  The only exception to this rule is assistive animals however; tenants must disclose and provide proper documentation. 

5)  Maintenance Items.  Tenants sometimes do not report issues with the home.  An inspection gives you a look into the home to see if there are maintenance items that have not been completed, items that have been neglected and items that are seen and have not been reported. 

6)  Keeping open communication with tenants.  We go the home also to let the tenant's know we care about the home they are renting.  Some tenants feel as though the owners or property managers to not care about their needs.  Inspections are a great time to see how they are feeling about things, a time for them to point out items of concern and just keep the flow of communication going. 

Other inspections that a property manager should be conducting is an initial baseline inspection prior to placing a tenant and move out inspections in between tenants.  This keeps an accurate and thorough record of the condition of the home.  This will help alleviate your liability should there be an issue over security deposit charges.

Don't wonder if your property manager is doing inspections....know for sure!

Call Top Notch today. 
We would be happy to outline our inspection process.

928-772-4801 or email at
Our website is full of great information

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

4 Pillars of Top Notch


Top Notch was designed with 4 pillars in mind.  The goal is to provide excellent customer service, provide a product that people would use and do it the absolute best to our abilities.  Why?  Because your investment is important to us.  We do not take it lightly to be part of one of the largest investments a person can make.  Whether you are purchasing your first home, your third home or just an investment property to make some additional money and invest in real estate, you are important to us.  Each person that calls our office or walks in our doors will feel and come to enjoy the difference.

If service is what you are looking for, look no further.
If a smile is what you are looking for, look no further.
If expert advice is what you are looking for, look no further.

It warms my heart every time I hear a "thank you for all you have done".  It humbles me to think, my life dream and my daily accomplishments is all about helping others.  What a great thing!

Allow me to explain what I mean by 4 pillars....

First Pillar:  Property Management:  We love working for investors.  I have spent most of my 28 years in real estate assisting investors with their investment properties.   I really enjoy discussing ways to maximize your investment.  Some owners who are not long term investors and have a home to rent out for a year or two, lean on us to guide them with the best way of maximizing that investment for that period of time.  Our full service property management is designed to assist, keep informed, maintain your property and simply the ins and outs of property management business.  We take much pride in matching a good tenant to your property. 

Second Pillar:  Leasing Service:  This is designed for the people that are looking for a piece of mind, that the tenant has been screened and verified.  We will advertise the home, show the home, and screen the tenant.  Our vetting process is extensive and thorough, so when we hand the tenant over to you, we feel confident they will be a good tenant.   There is an optional service available to collect the deposit and prep the lease as well. 

Third Pillar:  Concierge Home Service
Do you own a home and will you be gone for an extended period of time?
Do you have anyone looking after your property while you are gone?
Do you want your property to be looked after in your absence?
If your answer to any of the above questions is yes, you need Top Notch Concierge Home Services. This service is designed to protect your asset while you are away.  This is a package deal, where you pick which package serves you best.  You can add many services like grocery shopping to the packages.

Fourth Pillar:  Real Estate Sales:  Whether you have a home to sell or a home to buy, we can assist you in all facets of Listing or Purchasing your home.  We designed this area of Top Notch to cater to and provide exceptional service to sell your home or help you purchase a new one.  Whether you are a first time home buyer, a seasoned buyer or an investor, our 28+ years of real estate experience can help.  We take customer satisfaction seriously and provide a service you will be happy with. 

Chose which service best suits your needs and give us call.  We are here to answer any questions you may have.   Look forward to hearing from you.

928-772-4801 - -