For Property Owners

STML Property Management & Leasing Services

There are several factors that every property owner must consider when making a decision to utilize a professional property management firm.  Professionalism, marketing effectiveness, maintenance services, and your time must all be factored into this decision.  The staff of STML understands the importance of maximizing your investments and minimizing cost.  We make it a priority to conduct ourselves with the utmost professionalism, to minimize the time in which your property remains vacant, to maintain a trustworthy vendor and maintenance network, and to eliminate the time you spend dealing with landlord related headaches.  

Our available leasing services include:

-Property evaluation and rental price recommendations
-Professional real estate signage posted at the property if appropriate
-Digital photos taken and posted to our corporate website listing page
-MLS listing of the property if appropriate
-Listings posted on top marketing websites
-Handling of all online & telephone inquiries to schedule property showings
-Licensed real estate brokers will show your property
-We review and verify rental applications for creditworthiness and other factors
-STML negotiates terms and prepares lease documents including custom addendums
-We schedule and complete the lease signing including collection of initial rent & deposit
-Complete move-in coordination including a detailed walk through and inspection report

Our available management services include:

-All tenant contact and communication
-Rent collection including multiple available payment options
-Property maintenance utilizing our 24/7 tenant call center and on-call service managers
-Proactive property maintenance
-Vendor contact, negotiation, and management with access to our preferred vendor network
-Full property accounting and bill payment options
-Real-time financial reporting and direct deposit of owner funds each month via our online portal
-Intensive rent collection efforts and eviction representation if necessary

Some Commonly asked questions are answered below:

How long has STML been in business?
Our company has been operating in its’ current form since 2003.

What type of rental properties do you manage? 
We specialize in single family homes and condos, multi-unit rentals (2/4/6 flats), and multi-family apartment buildings.

What areas do you handle?
We manage property throughout the Chicagoland area.  However, the majority of our property is located in the northern and western suburbs of Chicago.  We do make exceptions and manage property outside of this area in some cases.  If you are not sure if your property would qualify please ask.

How many clients do you serve? 
We currently manage properties which are owned by more than 50 individual owners and ownership groups.  Many of those clients own multiple rental properties with some owning up to 100 rental units each.

I live far from my rental property. Is that a problem?
Absolutely not!  Many of our owners live out of state or out of the country.  We have owners in Australia, China, and the UK.  A local property manager can keep an eye on your rental property to make sure that the tenants are taking good care of it. We will be the eyes on your property and we can communicate completely via phone and/or email.  We have many owners that we have been working with for years who we still have never met face-to-face due to their location.

How much will my property rent for?
This is the most common question we encounter.  The simple answer is that your home will rent for whatever someone is willing to pay to rent it.  This really means that current market conditions will determine the rental price for the home.  We are leasing experts and will give you a very accurate rental range to utilize as a guideline based upon true market conditions.

How long will it take to rent my property?
While we can’t guarantee a specific move-in date, our average residential property rents approximately 15 days from the day we begin our marketing efforts. We have had units rent within a day and others that have taken 90 days or more to lease.  However, if a property is properly priced and marketed we consider 45 days an excessive vacancy period.

How do you market properties for rent? 
Our marketing efforts begin with an initial property evaluation and rental price recommendation. Professional real estate signage is posted at the property if possible.  Digital photos are taken and posted to our corporate website listing page. MLS listings will be built if appropriate.  A complete online marketing program is created and listings are posted on high traffic marketing websites.  If additional advertising is requested we can coordinate that advertising at the owner’s expense.  This would include newspaper classified ads.

Who handles the calls and showings?
STML takes all calls and schedules showings.  A licensed real estate broker will show the property.

What happens if someone is interested in the property? 
All interested tenants must proceed through our full application process.  Every adult who will live in the property must submit a full rental application.  We will run a full credit & background check, verify employment & income, check eviction history, and call previous landlords.  We will have a very good idea about who is applying for your unit and we will give you our professional opinion regarding that prospective tenant.  Based upon that information you will have the option to make the final decision to approve that tenant.  In many cases owners will defer to our decision as we have placed thousands of tenants and have a very high success rate with tenant approvals.  

How do you make sure the tenant is taking good care of my home while renting? 
Careful tenant selection is the most important factor. However, if we have any concerns about the condition of the property during the lease term we can conduct periodic property reviews to ensure that the units are being properly maintained.  

What do you do if they are not taking care of my property as they should? 
Your property manager gives the tenant an opportunity to correct the situation immediately and they usually will. If not, we will notify them that they are in breach of their lease and proceed accordingly.

How do tenants pay?
Tenants pay us directly by mail or online via the tenant portal on our website.  First month rent and security deposits must be made via certified funds.

How much security deposit do you charge the tenant? 
As a general rule of thumb we charge 1 month’s rent although credit and other factors may dictate that a higher deposit is necessary.

Who holds the tenant's security deposit? 
Security deposits are held in our non-interest bearing security deposit trust account.  

What happens if the tenant does not pay their rent on time? 
We utilize all of the resources necessary to collect rent.  Phone calls, property visits, late fees, 5-day notices, and attorneys are all readily available tools.  We will collect rent very aggressively in all cases.

How do you handle maintenance requests? 
Most tenants utilize our 24/7 tenant call center to submit requests and can speak to a live person 24 hours/day.  Many tenants submit requests online as well.  An on-call property manager will speak directly to the tenant and ask them questions which will help us determine the exact nature of the problem before sending a service technician. We also do our best to make sure it is not something the tenant can fix themselves (ex: reset button on the disposal, tripped breaker) before your money is spent on a service call. If we determine that it is a legitimate problem we will send the appropriate service vendor to make the repair.  We prioritize and schedule repairs in a manner that minimizes cost by clustering repair calls with other properties or making multiple repairs within the same call.  Emergencies are identified as such and are handled as necessary.

Who pays if the tenant causes the damage?
Our vendors are instructed to identify the cause of any damage or problems if possible.  We are notified if the issue is caused by normal wear and tear or tenant neglect.  If a tenant is found to be responsible for damages they will be billed for the repairs.

Do you use the cheapest maintenance people you can find? 
Not necessarily.  We only utilize skilled and competent vendors.  Poorly done repairs are always more expensive in the long term as those repairs will need to be done again.  Our vendors are very good at their trade and are reasonably priced due to the volume of business that we do with them.  For large repairs we will collect multiple quotes and interview multiple vendors. 

Do you hold some of my money for repairs? How much? 
For most single unit properties we will hold a $200 reserve in your account so that we always have funds to pay vendors quickly if necessary.  This is your money held by us for emergency repairs.

How do I know you won’t spend my money on large repairs without my approval? 
This is a legitimate concern. We set a spending limit and request your approval for any repair which exceeds that amount.  We only exceed that amount in the case of an emergency repair that needs immediate attention.

What if I want you to use my own vendors?
We will do our best to accommodate this request but we already have a stable of very qualified and reasonably priced vendors that we have used for many years.  If you would like to nominate a service company to be added to your vendor list we will contact them and let them know what documentation we need, what our payment policy is, etc.  We cannot guarantee that your favorite company will be sent on all service calls. Our concern is always to resolve repair problems in the most efficient way possible with the best available vendor at the time and to achieve the best service for the tenant and your investment property. 

I want you to use my home warranty for all covered repairs, is that ok?
Again, we will do our best to accommodate this request if the warranty company is responsive.  However, if the home warranty company does not respond in reasonable time we may be forced to send a vendor out to make a necessary repair. 

How do I get my owner funds? 
We prefer to direct deposit owner funds but will mail a check if requested.  Owner payments are generally sent out on or after the 10th of each month with a goal to get owners their money on the 15th of the month.  If all funds are not available at that time we will send funds as soon as they become available.

How do I view my financial reports?
All owners are provided online access to our property management system.  Financial reports can be run and printed directly from that program.  Each owner will receive a welcome email from our system and will speak to our financial contact to discuss this process before their first owner payment.

What will my monthly statement include? 
The monthly statements show all income and expenses for the accounting period that you request. There are dozens of report options that you can request and you can customize the options and date ranges as needed.

How much are your monthly property management and leasing fees?
Our management and leasing fees vary depending upon the type of property, build date, current condition, and location. We offer percentage based management fees which are most common for single family units and flat fee options which are more common for multi-unit properties.

Does your property management agreement give you exclusive right to sell my property? 
No. We think that at the time you decide to eventually sell you should be free to decide who the best listing agent will be for your property.  We currently do not do any property sales whatsoever.  We are property management and leasing experts.  Property sales are not our business.

Can I choose leasing or management services rather than both?
Our services are exclusive of each other and you may have us do one rather than both.  95% of our owners do utilize us for both services though.

How soon can you start leasing or managing my home? 
We can start the process immediately and it generally takes 2-3 business days to set up your property once you have chosen to work with us as your management company.

Why should I hire you as my property management company? 
You should hire us only if you think we are the best match for your property management needs.  We are not a perfect fit for every property owner and we do not pretend to be.  We provide a very high level of professional service at a competitive rate.  We do not simply tell owners what they want to hear about their property to earn their business.  We give honest assessments regarding property appearance, condition, and market rental values.  Doing anything less would be doing you a disservice as a property owner and ultimately cost us both time and money.  Our extensive experience coupled with a commitment to providing immediate and long term value to our clients is what drives our business.  We accomplish this by planning thoroughly, marketing aggressively, communicating openly, and always managing your property as if it was our own.

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