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Property Manager Spotlight: Q&A with Crystal Avery

A new property manager, Crystal Avery is enthusiastic, knowledgeable and eager to assist homeowners and tenants. Tori Dotson, the owner of Windermere Property Management/West Sound, describes Crystal as “communicative” and “on the ball”, saying she’s the type of property manager who “treats people’s homes as if they were her own”. Read on to learn about Crystal’s professional background, interests, and more in our Q&A.

1. What drew you to property management?

I consider myself a creative spirit and wanted to use my education and skills in a positive way that could lead to amazing change for others. Property Management has its way of doing that by giving owners and tenants peace of mind.

2. Was this an obvious career path for you?

In a way, yes. When I graduated high school, I took a test to determine the best career for me and I scored the highest in real estate. At the time, real estate intimidated me. So I did not go further than an initial course through a different firm back in 2002.  I enjoyed the field of HR so decided to pursue that path.  After meeting a pretty special lady who is a current property manager and has taught me so much, I realized I have nothing to be intimidated about. I needed to just go for it!  So here I am, loving every day and blessed to meet new people.

3. What do you love about working as a Windermere property manager?

I love the people, the chance to view different properties and the opportunity to get to know our lovely PNW a bit more.  Also, I enjoy the freedom of setting my own schedule so I can be home for my family and take time to explore different hobbies and interests.  Every day is different, and I appreciate that. It keeps me on my toes.

4. What’s the best part of your job?

The best part of my job is my colleagues. I am blessed to work with a group of people who come together and support, encourage and collaborate with each other.  It is definitely a team here!

5. Every job has its challenges. What is one of this position’s challenges and how do you try to prevent or address it?

At times I feel I have to be a bit tough to guarantee compliance with laws and lease agreements and that can be a challenge.  I am firm but kind. I think having a realistic approach with people is better than beating around the bush.

6. What’s one thing that homeowners, tenants, and/or colleagues might be surprised to learn about you?

I lived in Germany for three years.  I was little but I remember the zoo and the colored chickens. Just ask me and I will tell you all about it!

7. Name two personality traits that you possess and how they benefit your clients.

I am humble and honest.  When it comes to advice, I am not afraid to take it or give it.  I’m always learning and, in a way, teaching.

8. Windermere Property Management/West Sound manages a variety of properties across Kitsap County. How long have you lived here and what do you think is one of the best parts about the Kitsap Peninsula?

We moved around a lot because my dad was in the Army. But we were mainly between Washington and northern Nevada.  I have lived off and on in the PNW my whole life. Most recently, I moved here in 2016. I love it all except the traffic going towards Tacoma and beyond!  I enjoy exploring the whole area. Some of my favorite spots are Neah Bay, Westport, Lake Cushman, Lake Crescent and the more local areas like Tahuya, Wildcat Lake, and Seabeck’s Guillemot Cove.

9. How do you try to stay involved in the community?

Honestly, with a full-time career, kids’ school, sports schedules, and my master’s degree program, I haven’t had much time. But I do offer to volunteer for office events or school field trips with my kids. I encourage them to get involved. It fosters a sense of social responsibility and care for what’s going on around you.

10. Can you share a recent professional moment that filled you with joy or gratitude?

I have only been with Windermere a short time, but I have received compliments that solidify this is the right field for me. Some homeowners have said that they are impressed with me and can’t believe I just started. Others have said they like the way I think outside the box to remedy issues. I can’t say I am any different from any of my colleagues. We all feed off each other and I have learned quite a bit from them.

When I first started, there was a property that had some issues. It seemed to be one thing after another. After all the repairs the owner said, “We just thank God for you” and that felt really good.  My hope is that every owner and tenant is thankful for the services we provide at Windermere and I will do my best to assure that.

5 Traits Property Managers Look for in Renters

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Great rental homes often attract many applicants, so how can you stand out? It helps to know what property managers look for in potential tenants. Here are five traits that can help you get selected and create a positive, professional relationship with your property manager.

1. Detail-Oriented

Many people sign lengthy documents without fully reading them. If you’re detailed-oriented, you will take the time to read through all of the information provided about the application process and the application itself. When reviewing your lease, don’t be afraid to dive into the details and ask questions. This shows property managers that you really care. You also want to be crystal clear about the rules, regulations, and expectations. Also, pay attention to the terms stated in the lease. What is the pet policy? Are there noise regulations? What rules must be followed in order to get your security deposit back? Let the details pave the way.

2. Responsible

Paying on time is a big part of being a responsible renter. Many property managers now allow you to pay online, so this is something you can ask about when looking at a rental home. Another great way to show your responsible nature and some forethought? Purchase renter’s insurance. It covers your belongings and protects you if someone visiting your home is injured while there. Renter’s insurance policies can vary, but the National Association of Insurance Commissioners states that renters insurance tends to cost less than $16 per month, which is about $190 per year. It’s a small price to pay for something that may really help you down the road.

3. Communicative

The best renters clearly communicate their questions and needs in a respectful manner. If you are a first-time renter or you are new to the area, good property managers are happy to provide you with helpful resources and recommendations. But they won’t know you need that information unless you ask. Additionally, if an issue arises such as the need for a repair, it’s important to quickly submit a maintenance request so that it can be dealt with in a timely manner. Many property management companies have an online system for submitting maintenance requests. Asking about this from the get-go, and then using it as soon as something happens, shows that you value open communication.

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4. Aware

Property managers genuinely care about your needs as a tenant but they also have other clients. Our managers here at Windermere Property Management/West Sound work hard to maintain their properties and address the needs of both homeowners and tenants on a daily basis. Showing your awareness of their role and responsibilities means being mindful of their time just as you want them to be mindful of yours.  It is important that they respond in a timely manner, but if you contact your property manager outside of normal business hours, understand that it may take a little time for them to respond if it’s not an emergency. They may be showing a property, working with a vendor to get something fixed, or having dinner with their family. The best way to build your awareness from the start is to ask about the average turn-around time on maintenance requests and make sure you know who to contact outside of normal business hours.

5. Respectful

Showing that you respect the property and the surrounding community means a great deal. Property management companies highly value their homeowners and renters and strive to create a positive experience. The questions you ask about the home and the neighborhood can show what type of tenant you would be. As a tenant, little actions can really make a positive impact. Always clean up after your pet, follow parking rules for you and your guests, and maintain a tidy home. These actions may seem obvious to you, but they aren’t to some people. And, if a home isn’t properly maintained, a small mess can turn into permanent damage. Treating a rental home as if you owned it is the best approach. It builds trust and makes it a more enjoyable experience for everyone from start to finish.

Benefits of Using a Property Management Company

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If you want to rent out your home, consider using a property management company. Landlords must handle many different issues. And, you may not have the time or expertise to do so effectively. An experienced property manager takes these responsibilities off your hands and provides many additional benefits.

Industry professionals will help prepare and market your home

Property managers possess local real estate knowledge so they can help you decide the appropriate rental price. At Windermere Property Management/West Sound, we schedule a site visit to determine your home’s potential as a rental property. We identify any conditions that need to be addressed before leasing your home. With a professional at your side, you won’t have to worry about showings, marketing your property, or making time for interested applicants’ emails and calls.

The pros can find the best tenants for you and it’s hassle-free

Reviewing applicants’ paperwork and doing background checks can be overwhelming. A property manager does this for you. He/she is more likely to identify potential red flags. A professional also helps you avoid any rental scams. Great companies have access to excellent tenant screening software that streamlines the process. Within minutes, they’re able to conduct a standard background check, a credit check, and a scan of rental payment history. Managers also know what positive qualities and details to spot in order to find good tenants.

Property managers address tenants’ concerns so you don’t have to

Great property managers are responsive, available problem-solvers. They have access to licensed, insured, and bonded contractors to handle maintenance requests and repairs. Many property management companies have an online work order system and they keep homeowners in the loop with real-time updates.

You won’t have to directly deal with potential legal conflicts

The tenant-landlord relationship can be tricky to navigate. However, if you hire a property manager you create a buffer. Property managers know how to professionally address conflicts and they are well versed in landlord-tenant laws and fair housing laws. This can help you avoid potential legal issues and a lot of stress.

A manager can maintain or increase your property value while you’re away

Property managers can help you identify maintenance issues. A small problem can easily snowball into a much bigger, more expensive one. Preventive maintenance can increase your property’s value and good property managers know this. They oversee regular maintenance checks and inspections, providing detailed documentation to keep you informed.

Day-to-day property management isn’t for everyone. In fact, it isn’t for most. If you simply want good tenants, rent paid on time, and no hassles or extra time commitments, use a high-quality property management company. You can enjoy the freedom of living where you want knowing that experienced professionals who value your property are handling everything.

Celebrating Windermere’s 35th Community Service Day

Windermere Silverdale Community Service Day

Photos courtesy of Steven Boe.

With shovels, paintbrushes, and smiles we celebrated Windermere’s 35th annual Community Service Day on June 9, 2019. Every year since 1984, Windermere closes its offices for one day to help make a difference in our communities. This year, our Windermere Silverdale office volunteered at Paws of Bremerton, which provides rescue and adoption services for cats as well as low-cost vaccinations and spay/neuter surgeries.

It’s always a privilege to get to connect with wonderful organizations like Paws of Bremerton. We helped update their facilities inside and out. Some of their rooms needed a fresh coat of paint so we got right to it. We also did yard work around their building to ensure that everything is in excellent condition for summer.

It was a productive day and we were all happy to participate. “I enjoy giving back to the community with fellow brokers and seeing our efforts impact a positive outcome for organizations who need additional assistance to reach their goals,” said Property Manager Dawn Clay.

Working alongside our neighbors to make a positive impact has actually made quite a difference over the years. Since every Windermere office volunteers their time, we’ve collectively contributed over one million hours of community service in the past 35 years, and we look forward to doing even more in the years to come.

Property Managers Business Conference

Our wonderful Property Management team works hard to ensure that all owners & tenants are being taken care of to the best of their ability. This year some of our team had the opportunity to participate in a 3 day Appfolio Conference in Santa Barbara, CA. At this conference they took many classes to learn more on how to provide even better customer service to their clients. We look forward to helping with all your Property Management needs.

Some of our team at a recent business conference.

Some of our team at a recent business conference.