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


Tacoma Rentals

Everyone knows that property values have bounced back a bit since “The Great Recession of 2008″, but what about rental rates on single family homes … what are they doing? Have they gone up?

First, let me say that most rents NEVER WENT DOWN here in Pierce County! This is one of the few bright spots in the dark economic storm of the last 7 years that we have endured … and THAT says something of the durability of real estate as an investment.

Every year at Red Roof Rentals we take time to research current fair market rental rates using market data from Craigslist and from our own office files of closed successful transactions. The results show an average 8% RENT INCREASE in the last 24 month period (Nov. 2013 – Nov. 2015), as follows:

Sq Ft Est. RENT
(Nov, 2013)
(Nov, 2015)
% chg
800 895 950 6%
1,000 1,095 1,195 9%
1,200 1,195 1,295 8%
1,400 1,295 1,395 7%
1,600 1,395 1,495 7%
1,800 1,495 1,595 6%
2,100 1,595 1,750 9%
2,400 1,695 1,850 9%
2,700 1,795 1,950 9%

In an earlier study covering 2011-2013, only the “lower end” of the market (800-1400 sq ft) enjoyed increasing rents, the rents on larger homes remained flat in that period.

Today we find that the economy has improved compared to 2011 and, according to our chart, RENTS ARE UP across the board. Why is this?

The answer comes from the only thing that I remember from my high school Econ 101 class:


Construction of new rental units all but stopped from 2008 until just recently, leaving an inadequate supply of rentals. At the same time the demand for rental housing has increased, partly due to the following:

  1. A younger generation choosing the freedom of renting over home ownership;
  2. Retired baby boomers that have sold their homes, also seeking rental life;
  3. Seattle workers that have realized that for the cost of a 45 minute express bus fare they can rent in Tacoma at half price and commute to their high paying job in the Emerald City!

More people chasing after fewer rentals … I think you get the picture!

All this is very good news for rental property owners who took such an equity beating back in 2008, losing 30-40% of their rental property’s value. But today, market values have bounced back, erasing most, and in some cases ALL, of equity lost … and rental rates are increasing as well.

Real estate has its ups and downs, but in the long run the trend for values, both market and rental, just keeps going up!


Monkey Around with Propertt Management

You know, I have often told people that a monkey could be trained to do property management … and that I am the proof! There are some finer points to the craft that only those with years of experience can implement, but there are also some BASIC PRINCIPLES that anyone can use to better manage rental properties. If you promise to tell a friend about the nice folks at Red Roof Rentals, LLC then I will reveal some of the “BASIC” secrets to you … and here they are:

  1. A GOOD WRITTEN RENTAL AGREEMENT – Buy, borrow, steal or create one that is understandable, covers your primary concerns, is legally enforceable, firm and fair. Make sure that YOU read it and that YOU understand it. When things get tough it is always nice to be able to fall back upon a good quality written contract to solve problems and give guidance. Stick to your WRITTEN RENTAL CONTRACT … what’s the point of having it if you don’t follow it?
  2. EQUALITY FOR ALL – Treat everyone the same. Use your head, not your heart, in decision making. That poor old lady who just moved up here from Alabama that seems so sweet but only has $100 for a security deposit … you feel like helping her, don’t you?! Well just remember that you are not a social service agency or assistance program. Stick with your basic requirements and TREAT EVERYONE THE SAME … even poor old granny!
  3. SECURITY DEPOSITS – What renter wouldn’t like to pay little or no deposit on your rental property? But don’t agree to it! “But,” you say, “their references checked out so well that I don’t think I need a big deposit from them.” Don’t do that! The fact is that many people who START OUT as “gold plated” shining stars of responsibility and trustworthiness end up with unforeseen problems … drugs, failed relationships, death in the family, job loss … so make no exceptions to requiring a security deposit of at least one month’s rent, OR MORE. Your rental contract has a blank for the DEPOSIT AMOUNT … fill it in!
  4. TAKING PAYMENTS ON THE DEPOSIT – NO. You can evict for non-payment of rent but not for nonpayment of deposit. I don’t care how sad their “story” is … require full payment of the deposit before you give them the keys!
  5. PET – The primary reason for a landlord to allow a pet is to snag the good potential renter that may be attached to that pet! Properties usually derive NO BENEFIT from the presence of pets and in fact pets always¬†“leave their mark” on a property in some way (I think you know what I am talking about). But we all know of high quality responsible folks whose pet is like their child, and they treat it as such … to reject them as a potential renter because they have a 4 pound Chihuahua would be unwise. Just be sure that your rental contract spells out what you expect if there is a pet on the property AND always increase the security deposit amount if there is a pet present. We recommend NOT ACCEPTING pets under 1 year of age, un-neutered/spayed animals or those that have ever bitten anyone. Service animals are treated differently.
  6. PET DEPOSIT – Don’t have a separate “pet deposit” … rather keep all deposit money in the same pot for greater flexibility when it comes to paying for damages when they move out. Also, we think it is best to make pet deposits REFUNDABLE … gives the tenant incentive to keep an eye on FIDO if they know that they can get ALL their pet deposit back if they do so! We charge a minimum of $300 per pet (refundable) based on weight. Service animals are treated differently.
  7. RENTING SITE UNSEEN – Don’t do it UNLESS the prospective tenant has had a LOCAL friend or family member check out the property for them and GIVEN THEIR APPROVAL OF THAT INSPECTION.
  8. ALLOWING TENANT TO PAY RENT DIRECTLY TO YOUR BANK ACCOUNT – If you do this then I have some property on the bottom of Ohop Lake that I want to sell you! If things go wrong and you have to start an eviction against a tenant, even a small deposit ($1) into your bank account could stop the eviction, causing you to start the process all over again.
  9. PERSONAL CHECKS – Never accept personal checks from a tenant until AFTER they have paid all deposits and first month’s rent with CASHIERS CHECKS or MONEY ORDERS and moved in. Do not give them the keys until everything they owe you has been paid with “good money” from them. Once they have moved in THEN you can accept personal checks if you wish, but even then we don’t recommend it. We recommend you do not accept cash either … it is hard to track and record.
  10. CREDIT REPORTS vs. PERSONAL REFERENCES – Credit reports were originally designed to help banks, mortgage companies and car dealers, NOT LANDLORDS. There are lots of GOOD PEOPLE out there that have BAD CREDIT for some very GOOD REASONS. You must search beyond a simple credit score. You must GO DEEPER and check out PERSONAL REFERENCES FROM UNRELATED PARTIES … call their landlords from the past 2 years (ask them if they are related to the applicant!) and check with employers to verify adequate income. Check the name of the owner of record (County records search) to see if it matches the Landlord name they gave you. Drive by where they “say” they live to make sure it is not a vacant house. Pretend you are a detective, because guess what … YOU ARE!

Well there you go … 10 secret pointers from the Red Roof Rentals safety deposit box! Whether you use the professional management services of Red Roof or not, we sincerely hope that we have helped you today … and remember, if you follow just a few guidelines and pointers like these, YOU TOO CAN “MONKEY AROUND” WITH PROPERTY MANAGEMENT!



First Bob forgot to set his alarm and woke up late. He rushed to morning court for his divorce hearing and his attorney lost his case. On his way to work the check engine light came on and he had to call Triple A for help. The lab called – his biopsy came back positive … then the bank called – he was overdrawn … then no one called … because his cell phone went dead.

Oh my gosh! Is it possible to have anything good to look forward to after a day like that?

Like Bob, I’ve had terrible days that I thought would never end, days so discouraging and painful that I wanted to pack a small bag and take off. But running away wasn’t an option for me – too many responsibilities, appointments, bills, parents needing help – I had to stick around. So instead I came up with something I could actually look forward to at the end of any terrible day.

I decided to adopt the sunset as a signal to me that my bad day was over. A thing of natural beauty became a notice of closure in my difficult daily world. As I watched the sun silently dip below the Western horizon I would truthfully tell myself that the day would very soon end, as would the chances of any more bad things happening to me.

This mindset made me start thinking about the sunset (the sign that this bad day was over) in the late afternoon and the anticipation of it took my mind off whatever hell I had been going through. Sometimes I would drive down to west-facing Titlow Park in Tacoma, sit on a worn bench by the water and feel my therapy happen as that fat orange ball set to the West. It was good medicine that treated many sick days in my troubled times. Thankfully things are better for me now, and for Bob too! Occasionally, though, I will have a day when it feels like everything is going wrong – it happens to all of us – and that is when I remember my pleasant technique to contain and set aside a bad day and prepare for a better day tomorrow.

I go watch the sun set.

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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 $25 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

Bob Mager, Office Manager

Daniela Kendall, Finance Director

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

Physical Address:
14208 Pacific Ave., #4
Tacoma, WA 98444

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