Phone Number253-222-3387
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We Do Property Management Right

Experienced, Responsible & Fair

Red Roof Rentals is a small, locally-owned property management company serving Tacoma, Lakewood, University Place, Spanaway, Graham, Puyallup and all of Pierce County East of Puget Sound. We focus on managing single-family homes. Over 35 years of experience in real estate property management and sales allows us to serve our clients very well.

Our philosophy is to run a low profile and low overhead office which allows us to charge a Flat-Rate Management Fee of as little as $95! Screening tenants is one of the keys to successful management, and we excel at it. We have had just about every trick in the book pulled on us in the past, so we seldom get fooled anymore! No one bats 1,000, and if we make an error we step up to the plate and take responsibility for it.

We treat owners and renters the same way we would want to be treated… fairly, firmly and with respect.

For renters we clearly explain our expectations up front so that they know and understand what it is that we want from them.

For our owners we always try to maximize their rental income and control their expenses.

Did you know?...

We can help with ALL your real estate needs! Want to buy or sell a home? Need help with property management? WE CAN HELP! If we can't do it we'll refer you to someone we trust who can.

Call us and find out how you can get the best service for the best price. Bob and I each have over 35 years experience in real estate right here in Pierce County. Why not let our experience go to work for you today. Got questions? CALL US ... we answer your real estate questions for free.

We work with property owners all throughout the Pierce County area including Tacoma, University Place, Lakewood, Spanaway, Graham, Puyallup, Fircrest, Parkland and Roy.

Make Red Roof Rentals your ONE STOP for all your real estate needs.

Let our experience go to work for you today!




Jeff Christiansen
Jeff Speaks!
The Red Roof Rentals Blog




DIY – PROPERTY MANAGEMENT 103

Rental Detective

Screening Applications

“Don’t believe what they say on their application … verify it!”
- Jeff Christensen, 2010

Everyone claims they are the best choice, promising to pay on time and take good care of the home … but many of those claims prove to be false. So how do you effectively screen a rental application?

  1. FIRST, HAVE THEM Fill ONE OUT – You can get them online or from an office supply store. Each adult should fill one out COMPLETELY, legibly and leaving NO BLANKS. Have them sign a release statement, giving you the right to run their credit report and contact their references. Also, remember to charge each adult $20 – $40 to apply … you will need that to pay for the credit & criminal reports.
  2. RUN THEIR NATIONWIDE CRIMINAL REPORT – Focus on “the majors” (felonies, multiple DUI’s, sex crimes) and not so much on “the minors” (misdemeanors, old marijuana charges, DWLS). Warning – all states report into “nationwide” criminal reports. Consider also that many good people did wrong things in the past that they will NEVER do again!
  3. RUN THEIR LOCAL COUNTY CRIMINAL REPORT – Use the Pierce County LINX system to check for charges in Pierce County. Sometimes a charge will appear on the LOCAL RECORD but be missed by a NATIONAL REPORT … AND YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS ANYTHING!
  4. RUN THEIR CREDIT REPORT – A score of 600 or more is preferred. You do NOT want to see ANY accounts in collections from the last 2-3 years from apartment complexes or for “the consumer basics” (utility bills, VISA cards, TV or cell phone invoices). Look for indications of RESPONSIBLE BEHAVIOR.
  5. CALL THEIR PRESENT LANDLORD – How long have they been there and are they there now? What is their rent? Did they have a co-signer? How many lates? Would the landlord rent to them again? Don’t be afraid to ask blunt questions … if you offend someone you can always apologize!
  6. CHECK COUNTY RECORDS – Verify that the name of the owner of record MATCHES the name of the landlord that they gave you. If it doesn’t, call the applicant and ask for an explanation.
  7. DRIVE BY WHERE THEY SAY THEY LIVE – Do you see cars on the lawn? Bags of garbage piled on the side? A big dog chained to an old refrigerator in the front? Leopards don’t change their spots and people that live this way are probably going to do the same things if you let them into your home!
  8. MAKE A DECISION – Assemble all the data that you have gathered and consider your “gut feelings”, make a “PROS & CONS” list for each applicant and (finally) MAKE AN INFORMED DECISION to ACCEPT, ACCEPT WITH CONDITIONS or REJECT the applicant.

Next we will learn a few things about the rental contract and what it should contain:

PM – 104 The Rental Agreement

DIY – PROPERTY MANAGEMENT 102

Blow Your Horn

Advertising for Rent

“On the highway of life, if you’ve got something important to say, blow your horn!
No one else is going to blow it for you.”
-Jeff Christensen, 2001

Now that you’ve completed the Property Management 101 course “PREPPING YOUR HOME FOR RENT’ you are ready to try your hand at ADVERTISING. If you happened to go to college you call this MARKETING, but for the rest of us commoners let’s just stick with “advertising”.

  1. CHECK OUT THE COMPETITION – Go to Craigslist, Zillow or a site of your choice and see what your property will be up against. Remember, the name of the game is BEAT THE COMPETITION. As much as possible, you want your place to be the biggest and best deal for the lowest price.
  2. SELECT THE PHOTOS – Remember all those photos I told you to take in the PM 101 course? Well now is the time to sort through them and select the BEST 20 to run in your ad. Pretend that you are a prospective renter and think about what you would want to see in the ad … front of house, what you see when you first open the front door, all rooms, washer & dryer, back yard … and don’t forget to take a picture of the neighborhood too! The wording of your ad matters but
    IT WILL BE THOSE PHOTOS THAT WILL DO “THE HEAVY LIFTING”!
  3. POST YOUR AD – Pull out the rough draft of that ad you wrote in the 101 class and put the final polish on it. Look for misspellings and sentences that run on. Try to remove as many unnecessary words as you can and yet still convey the basic facts with a sense of drama and flair! Don’t brag too much about your home … LET YOUR PHOTOS DO THAT!
  4. SIGN IN THE YARD – Buy the BIG “FOR RENT” sign at the box store and add your phone number with a BOLD BLACK MARKER. Bigger is better when advertising to people driving by at 35!
  5. FLYER IN THE WINDOW – Just the basic information please … bedrooms, bathroom, square feet, lot size, special features, kitchen upgrades, surprises to be found inside. Limit yourself to maybe 10 bullet points. Be sure to include your contact information. This flyer is to serve the folks that see your sign and stop to look around a bit when you are not at home. It’s like the tasty bait on the hook to get the fish to bite!
  6. TALK IT UP – Don’t be afraid to VISIT YOUR NEIGHBORS, give them a copy of the flyer and tell them the news … YOUR HOME IS FOR RENT!

So there!- YOU’RE OFF AND RUNNING! Stayed tuned for the next step for the D.I.Y. rental property owner:

PM – 103 : Screening Applications

DIY – PROPERTY MANAGEMENT 101

So Easy A Monkey Could Do it

Prepping to Rent

“It’s so easy, I could train a monkey how to do it!”
- Jeff Christensen, 2009

Ready to learn?
Good.
Now put down that banana and let’s get started!

  1. ESTABLISH THE RENTAL AMOUNT – Go to Craigslist or Zillow and see what owners of properties SIMILAR TO YOURS in the same general area are asking (and likely getting!). WHAT YOU SEE THERE WILL BE YOUR COMPETITION.
  2. FIX THINGS – Pretend that you are a prospective renter … go through your property and write down things that you notice that you would want fixed … IF you were a renter. Torn window screens? Dirty walls? A door with a hole? Broken light fixtures? IF IT BOTHERS YOU THEN IT WILL BOTHER THE GOOD PEOPLE THAT YOU WANT TO RENT TO.
  3. DECLUTIER & DEPERSONALIZE – Try to remove half of your belongings to make your home look TWO TIMES LARGER! Renters need a “blank canvas” onto which to project their ideas of “how it could be” if they rented your home.
  4. CLEAN – Everything doesn’t need to be new but your home needs to be VERY CLEAN. Do the job well so that in your advertising you can HONESTLY say “MRS. CLEAN LIVED HERE!”
  5. WRITE THE AD – Take some time to write a rough draft of an upbeat ad to be posted on Craigslist or Zillow or a website of your choosing. Emphasize “the good” but do not lie about “the bad”. If it has no garage or small bedrooms, figure out a way to say so in a novel way with some clever humor. IN TODAY’S BUSY ADVERTISING WORLD, EVERYONE APPRECIATES HONESTY & HUMOR!
  6. PHOTOS – Take lots of them … at different times of the day (esp. important for the exterior shots), the front, the back, all the interior rooms and any special features or upgrades. Then, later, LOOK THROUGH THEM ALL and select only those that BEST represent each room or feature. An out-of-focus photo with poor lighting will not help your cause! YES, IT’S TRUE! … each good photo will be worth more than 1,000 words in your ad.

So there – that’ll get you started. Want to know more? Good! Stayed tuned for a future post on the next step for the D.I.Y. rental property owner:

PROPERTY MANAGEMENT – 102 : Advertising for rent

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We are a different kind of management company.

Our flat rate management fees start at an affordable $95/mo. and you pay nothing up front.

We screen applicants thoughtfully to select the best tenant for you, and we treat your property as we would treat our own.

Read more about our property management service for owners.

We charge a very reasonable $35 application fee.

We understand the needs of our renters. When you need us after hours we can usually be reached on our cell phones  and we try to take care of any needed repairs quickly.

Read more information for renters.

Download our rental application.

We service areas throughout Pierce County including:

Tacoma - University Place - Fircrest
Lakewood - Puyallup - Spanaway
Graham - Parkland - Roy

Office: 253-222-3387

Fax: 253-536-1699

Jeff Christensen, Owner
Cell:
253-720-7815
Email:

Bob Mager, Office Manager
Cell:
253-686-3214
Email:

Daniela Kendall, Finance Director
Cell:
253-380-4485
Email:

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 45168
Tacoma, WA 98448

Physical Address:
14208 Pacific Ave., #2
Tacoma, WA 98444

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