Kevin Knight, President, ABR®, CRS, GRI, RFS, RMP®, MPM®, Broker®
After serving in the United States Army's 82nd Airborne Division, I started my career in real estate in 1982. In 1994 I received my (CRS) designation Certified Residential Specialist.
In 2004, I purchased Liberty Management from my father, Don Knight, and have continued the integrity and professionalism that he built the business on. Also in 2004, I was awarded the Residential Management Professional designation (RMP) from the National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM).
In 2005, The San Antonio Board of Realtors® named me the Property Management Specialist of the Year. In addition, I have served as the 2005 and the 2007 President of the San Antonio NARPM Chapter of Residential Property Managers in San Antonio.
In 2008, I served as the Chairman of the Property Management Committee at the San Antonio Board of Realtors®. In 2009 Kevin received his Master Property Manager designation (MPM) from the National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM). This is the highest designation a property manager can receive.
In 2011 Liberty Management earned the CRMC® Certified Residential Management Company from the Nation Association of Residential Property Managers. This esteemed designation has been awarded to less than 1% of the residential property management companies.
I always welcome any comments or suggestions, please email at email@example.com. Thank You!
Don Knight, Founder
Has been active in real estate in San Antonio since 1971. In 1982 he founded Liberty Management, Inc. becoming one of the pioneer management companies in Northwest San Antonio. Building on the ethical principles of honesty and hard work, Liberty Management has become one of the most respected management companies in San Antonio. Don Knight retired from property management April 2010.
Our Property Management Team
Our Real Estate Team
Owners appreciate the small office atmosphere and personal service we deliver.
Renting homes is a merchandising rather than a selling effort. Many tenants find their homes by scrutinizing the outer appearance of properties in neighborhoods where they desire to live. The placement of signs with our company name and telephone number is one of our best means of attracting potential tenants. We also acquire tenants through the Multiple Listing Service, Internet web searches, other Real Estate companies, Military Housing Office, rental agencies, walk-in business, and referrals from satisfied clients.
Normally, there are three factors that make a property difficult to rent - undesirable neighborhood, it does not show well, or the rent is not competitive. If one of the last two problems appears to be a factor in marketing your property, we will make suggestions to correct them. We do our utmost to keep all properties rented, not only for your benefit but also because our income is based on a percentage of the rental income. Some Rental Facts -- Monday is the busiest phone day.- Renters visit three to five properties before making a decision.- It usually takes two visits for a renter to make a decision.- Over 75% decide to rent in the spring or summer.- 58% of the prospective tenants use the Internet.- The female is the primary decision maker.
This is one of the most important aspects of the successful management of rental property. We look at an applicant's past behavior and assume their future behavior will be the same. An applicant must demonstrate a history of being a good, responsible tenant as well as meeting our financial criteria.
If accepted, the applicant's in-processing includes a detailed explanation of the lease, lease signing, collecting pro-rated rent, and providing the tenants with a copy of our Lease Rules and Regulations and our Detailed Property Check List. Our Lease Rules and Regulations further explains our Lease Agreement and provides information about rental payments, lawn care and maintenance, pets, service calls/emergency repairs, check-in/out procedures, lease renewal and termination, utilities, security deposit, etc. The Lease-Rules and Regulations becomes an addendum to the Lease Agreement.
First, careful tenant selection protects your property from being rented to unqualified people. During the lease term, we may have occasion to enter the property for repair or maintenance reasons and will use that opportunity to examine the property.
In addition, we will generally schedule a 6 month property survey walk-through to see how the tenants are maintaining the property. We make sure the air filter is being changed, that the smoke alarms have batteries and that there are no unreported problems at the property.
We will also schedule a renewal survey when the tenant renews the lease. This protects both you and your property. The right for us to make routine inspections of the property is part of the tenant's lease agreement.
If payment has not been made by the 5th - 6th day of the month, we send an eviction notice. Whether or not we eventually have to proceed with a formal eviction depends on the specific circumstances. It is usually financially better, for all involved, if a solution can be worked out. If the tenant has experienced a one-time event which caused them a financial hardship, and we have had no previous problems with them, we will normally give them a chance to catch up, if there is reason to believe they can do so. If the tenant has demonstrated an ongoing pattern of late payments, broken promises and/or evasiveness, eviction is usually the best course of action.
Each case is unique, and we make our decisions based on what is best for you and the property in the long run. We always proceed with the legal notices required for eviction regardless of any other factors. We will simply postpone the actual filing of the eviction if the tenant is showing favorable effort toward resolution. Evictions in Texas are a simple legal matter as there is no way a tenant can prevail in court if they have not paid rent, and the landlord has properly executed the notices and filing. Full evictions, when necessary, can usually be completed in five to eight weeks.
We believe that you hire a property manager to manage the property for you, not to assist you in managing it yourself. We offer a turnkey style of property management service which is most appreciated by those property owners who prefer to be "out of the loop" on all but the most important matters related to the management and leasing of the property. We don't pester you with small details, questions, information or "updates" about your property or tenants, except for those matters which will have a significant impact on your monthly cash flow. Instead, we simply take care of the things you have entrusted us to handle on your behalf.
For some property owners, our system is not a good match, and we understand that. We are very up front about the fact that we do not want you to hire us if you expect to be involved in minor details or decisions related to the management and leasing of your property. We simply have not designed our systems and procedures to accommodate that level of involvement by owners.
Our general rule of thumb is this; if something has happened, or is about to happen, that will disrupt your ordinary monthly cash proceeds by more than $300 per repair not total invoice; we will let you know about it. An example would be that we receive a 30-day notice from your tenant, and therefore a turnover, along with related expenses, is pending and we want you to be informed and prepared for it. Another example would be that your A/C unit has failed during the middle of a hot summer; we have determined that the 12 year old compressor needs replacing and have initiated the work to replace it. We will call to let you know what has happened and the expected financial impact on the following month's statement.
Aside from any special considerations unique to you or your property, our rule of thumb is this: If something may cause a potential interruption in your ordinary cash flow (loss of tenant or major repair), we will let you know about it right away. Otherwise non-emergency items will be notated in your monthly statements. Of course, we encourage you to contact us anytime you have a question or wish to discuss something. If you are a worrisome owner that wants to be informed of every little thing, our style of management is probably not for you.
We do not! We do not employ nor do we profit from any maintenance people we use. They are competitive in price, competency and reliability. We have access to "all-around" maintenance technicians who are skilled in a wide range of home repairs including air-conditioning, light plumbing and electrical. These technicians are billed out at about $42 per hour, compared to single trade vendors who charge $60 - $75 per hour, and occasionally more for conditions such as an after-hours emergency sewer backup. We save our owners money by using these technicians for the majority of multi-trade and make-ready tasks. Another benefit of using these technicians is the opportunity for checking out the general condition of the property - something that a single trade vendor will not do for you.
We believe we have developed a very sensible approach to handling maintenance and repairs, and that you will realize cost savings that other property management companies simply cannot deliver.
This is the greatest fear of most new owners. We promise in writing not to do that. Ordinary maintenance and repairs of less than $300 are paid out of your account, and you will see this in your monthly statement. If we think a repair might exceed $300 and if we are unable to reach you, we may initiate repair work even if it is higher than $300 as stated in the management agreement; for the following cases: (1) the health or safety of a tenant is an issue; (2) the property will incur damage if immediate action is not taken, (3) In instances where there is only one option to consider. We will not leave a tenant waiting in 90+-degree heat without A/C or without hot water, or a leaking roof while we try to contact you for permission to do the obvious.
Sometimes an owner will complain that we spent $365 (for example) when it was not an emergency. The simple explanation for this is that the company that went to the property charged a $65 service call (for example) to go out to the property whether they fixed anything or not. Therefore, instead of having the owner incur a $65 service call just for us to get an estimate and then having to send the company back out to do the repair and the owner having to incur another $65 service call, the owner saved $65 by having the repair done the first time.
We always tell the maintenance companies to alert us if the repair is going to be over $300. Sometimes the maintenance company may think that the repair will not go over $300, but after they get working on the repair, they find that there is more to fix than they could see before they started the job. It would not make good sense and it could be a safety issue if the company had to leave an air conditioner or dishwasher, etc. torn apart while we waited for your permission to ok the additional $50.00 (for example) and then the maintenance company could charge another trip charge on top of the extra money for the repairs. This would not be in your (the owners) best interest.
Liberty Management does not make any money on maintenance and any discounts that we receive are always passed on to the owner.
We will be happy to invite them to join our vendor list if they are qualified and insured, but we cannot promise that a specific vendor will be dispatched to your home for certain repairs. We already have a stable of very qualified and reasonably priced vendors that we have used for many years. If a company you prefer wants to be added to our vendor list, they can contact us and we will interview them and let them know what documentation and references we need. However, we cannot guarantee that your favorite company will be sent on all service calls to your property. Our concern is always to resolve repair problems in the timeliest way possible with the best available vendor at the time. We cannot keep track of a pre-established roster of which vendors are assigned to certain properties - it would be very cumbersome and inefficient and would not achieve the best service to you, the tenant, or your property.
Our professional reputation, with both tenants and owners, is largely, if not entirely, determined by how well we handle maintenance. Therefore, we follow a practice that is most likely to insure the best possible response and resolution to problems.
We prefer that the owners do not use a Home Warranty Company to make repairs at their rental property.
There is a HUGE problem in the home warranty industry, and the public is becoming savvy to it.
Try searching Google with the name of your favorite home warranty company and the word `complaints' or `fraud'. You will be amazed. Find out how many people feel like they got burned, turned down wrongfully, or got seriously bad service. Furthermore, feel free to visit www.my3cents.com for even more examples of this currently growing problem; THERE ARE MANY OTHERS.....
Almost Every time we call a home warranty company for a problem, they deny the service either on grounds of lack of maintenance or abnormal wear and tear. How do you define abnormal wear and tear and lack of maintenance? When it comes to exclusions and small print, Warranty contracts say a claim can be denied for lack of maintenance, improper maintenance, improper installation, pre-existing problems, code violations and numerous other reasons.
Warranties are typically purchased by home sellers or their real estate agents to avoid lawsuits if something breaks in the first year.Not to be confused with a builder's warranty, a so-called home warranty -- Actually a service contract -- is typically purchased for existing homes, especially homes sold by real estate agents. These service contracts generally cost $300 to $600 for a year-long basic-coverage plan that includes items like ceiling fans, water heaters and furnaces.
The contracts come with loopholes. You need to carefully read your service agreement to determine what is and what isn't covered. Coverage for plumbing, for example, typically ends at your home's foundation, so leaks or breakages beyond that would be your responsibility. "Pre-existing" problems typically aren't covered, nor are breakdowns that result from poor maintenance or improper installation. The contract also may require that a system be upgraded to current building code standards -- at the homeowners expense -- before they agree to consider repairs. People who have had problems with the home warranty companies say that the more expensive the repair or replacement, the more likely home warranty companies are to invoke these exclusion clauses.
You don't have control over who does the work. The home warranty provider contracts with local service companies to perform the actual inspections and repairs. You don't get to choose, and scheduling repairs can sometimes be a trial. The service technician may also try to sell you unneeded services.
We have had hundreds of problems with home warranties.
We had a bathroom faucet go on the blink; we called the Home Warranty Company. After paying the $55 deductible, their contractor refused to make the repair. So we had our plumber go out and they made the repair for $65. We have experienced this over and over where the owners are spending money on deductibles and then we have to send out our maintenance people to fix the problem.
Our next problem came in the form of a malfunctioning air conditioner. After 2 days with the tenants having no A/C and paying a $50 deductible, The service technician reported that there was lack of maintenance and therefore it had to be replaced and cannot be covered under the Home Warranty. They gave us an estimate of $4,000 to replace a 6 year old A/C system. Also the tenants are staying in a Hotel and want to be reimbursed for their expenses. We sent out our A/C vendor and he said the A/C unit is perfectly fine except that a small part had to be replaced; total cost from our vendor was under $200.
On another property, a dishwasher repair was needed. The home warranty company took 3 months and had make 15 trips out to the property to repair the dishwasher. If you were the tenant how would you feel?
On one property the A/C went out in the summer and it took 21 trips and 3 months before the warranty company finally replaced the A/C. You can be sure the tenants moved as soon as their lease agreement was up. Other tenants would have gotten an attorney and been suing the owner.
Often they will leave tenants hanging without heat or A/C for days while they go through their "second opinion" process. If, as a property manager, I wanted to damage my reputation with as many tenants as possible by providing the lousiest repair service possible, I can't think of a better way to accomplish that than by using a warranty company on all service calls. They simply are not compatible with the level of service we demand of our vendors.
Our owners have been burned so many times in years past that we finally decided we had enough, and said "no more". Nothing affects the reputation of a property management company more than the manner in which repairs are handled. Tenants judge us by almost no other measure. It therefore makes little sense to entrust vendors we don't know, whom we have no relationship with or control over, with the reputation of our company and the relationship with your tenant. Instead, when repairs are needed, we will send our trusted vendors with whom established relationships exists, and they will provide the quality service we require in a professional and timely manner. That said, if we determine through our own vendor that a covered mechanical item in your home has failed, or is in need of costly repair, we will endeavor to get whatever Home Warranty company you have out to honor the warranty, provided that they accomplish the service call and repair in a timeframe and manner that is reasonable and just to all parties.Take a look at Paragraph 18 section F of the tenants lease agreement 18. REPAIRS:F. NOTICE: If Landlord fails to repair a condition that materially affects the physical health or safety of an ordinary tenant as required by this lease or the Property Code, Tenant may be entitled to exercise remedies under §92.056 and §92.0561 of the Property Code.span>If Tenant follows the procedures under those sections, the following remedies may be available to Tenant: (1) terminate the lease and obtain an appropriate refund under §92.056(f); (2) have the condition repaired or remedied according to §92.0561; (3) deduct from the rent the cost of the repair or remedy according to §92.0561; and (4) obtain judicial remedies according to §92.0563. Do not exercise these remedies without consulting an attorney or carefully reviewing the procedures under the applicable sections. The Property Code presumes that 7 days is a reasonable period of time for the Landlord to repair a condition unless there are circumstances which establish that a different period of time is appropriate (such as the severity and nature of the condition and the availability of materials, labor, and utilities.)
Tenants have more rights now than they ever have had in the past and Judges are normally on the side of the tenants and if repairs are not made timely, owners can find themselves on the wrong side of the legal system. It is hard enough to try to use a home warranty on the home that you live in. It is not cost effective or practical to use a home warranty on a rental property.
Our Broker will not use any existing Home Warranty Company for "first responder" service calls to the property, under any circumstance. Covered items that need replacing will be run through the Home Warranty Company only after an initial determination is made that replacement may be necessary.
Frequently, I get asked why owners have to wait so long to get their rent proceeds when rent is due on the 1st of the month. I think that it is a good question and I would like to take a moment to answer it! Yes, our lease agreement states that the rent is due on the 1st of the month. Texas law says that we have to give the tenants a grace period. Therefore, the tenants have to midnight on the 3rd before they are considered to be late with their rent.
So consequently, when we open our office on the (4th), we have a lot of rents that were dropped off late on the night of the 3rd. If the 4th falls on a Saturday or Sunday, or a holiday, in which case we are closed, this will further delay the process. The checks that we receive on the morning of the 4th, we have to post into the property management software. Then we have to do deposit slips for the bank, so then on the afternoon of the 4th, if all goes smoothly, we can take the deposits down to the bank. The bank then has to post these deposits to our account, which again, if it falls on a weekend or a holiday, does not happen until the following Monday, or workday for the bank. Therefore, if the funds for us to send you your money are not credited or put into our account before we send out checks then some of checks we send out could be returned for Non-sufficient funds, causing numerous other problems for all of us.
We process statements and rent proceeds between the 7th and 10th of each month. You should receive your statement and rent proceeds no later than the 15th providing the property is occupied and the rent has been paid on time.
Disbursements are made by check and mailed with the owner's statement or ACH direct deposit into the owners' accounts and statements are mailed the same day. We now email owner's statements that receive their rent process by ACH.
When we send out the ACH payments the banks take two business days to process the payments. Payments to Owners who had late rents (received after 5th) and before the 15th are processed between the 15th and 20th of the month. Late payments received after the 15th of the month are processed the following month.
If you have not received your statement and rental proceeds by the 15th of the month, please call our office, but calls prior to the 15th will just delay the processing of your funds and statement. Your cooperation is greatly appreciated.
We will pay your lawn service and any other bills or invoices generated as a result of repairs, utilities or other services to your property. We are not able to pay mortgage or insurance payments on your behalf. We strongly recommend that owners pay their own HOA fees in order to avoid the possibility of fines and fees or other legal issues that could arise. Please see our information about Keeping Your HOA up-dated.
There must be sufficient cash flow from the property to cover such expenses, and sometimes we must set up an additional reserve fund for this purpose, which will allow us to make prompt payment for you without waiting for the rent to arrive.
In order to have our managements competitive in the rental market our leasing fee is 50% of the first month's rent for new tenants. Unlike many management companies that charge a 50% leasing fee, we pay the full 50% leasing fee to the Broker that rents the property.
We list our rental properties in the Multiple Listing Service, which is accessed by several thousand real estate agents. This greatly helps minimize the vacancy time of your property on the rental market.
There are no start-up costs. We do not charge for long distance calls or mileage nor do we mark up maintenance costs at any time as some Property Managers do routinely. The only other expenses you should incur would be for services which fall outside the normal scope of our Management Agreement and for duplication of services.
If you lose a rent proceeds check, there is a $28 replacement fee. (Our charge to cancel the check at our bank)
Here are some examples that fall outside of normal management service:
Owners often ask us to do things that are outside our normal management services, and we try to accommodate our owners whenever possible.