Boise Property Management Blog

How to Manage your Manager Part 1 of 3

Tony Drost - Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Earlier this week, Tony Drost spoke to the AVID Investors Club on How to Manage Your Manager.  Since Tony owns First Rate Property Management and FRPM manages all of his rentals, the attendees were expecting Tony to state "If you need to manage your manger, maybe you need a new manager".  Not so.  Tony explained to the group that although he allows the property manager to do their work, there are parts that he is very active.  "There needs to be some check and balances" said Tony.  "I let the property manager do the day-to-day work and I play the role of the asset manager.  I keep my eye on the big picture."   A good property manager performs hundreds of tasks that the investor should not be involved with.  A good example is tenant screening.  Tony believes that the investor should review the property manager's screening criteria, and if acceptable, let the property manager do their job.  However, there does need to be a good fit between the investor and the property manager.  "Along with a good fit, comes TRUST", says Tony.  Without a high level of trust, the relationship will likely not work out, or at a minimum, always be strained.

Selecting a property manager:

Tony said the first question from most perspective clients is, "What do you charge".  Although price is very important, Tony recommends that it not be your first question and explains further later in his presentation.  Tony suggests landlords do their due diligence and to create a list of services they are looking for.  He provided the group with two links to help investors with some questions and scoring criteria to shop property managers. and  Price needs to be worked in the equation and Tony admits that pricing is no longer easy to calculate.  It's like the banks anymore.  Banks offer free checking, but you get charged if you go below a minimum balance.  You get charged for over drafts, returned checks, hard copy statements, ATM fees, inactivity fees, and the list goes on and on.  They even charge when you deposit cash.

Property managers learned that the first question a perspective client ask is "what's the management fee?"  So many property managers lowered their management fee and created a list of fees similar to what the banks do.  So, it's important to review the entire management agreement and add it all up.  Generally what you find, is that once all added up, the "effective management fee" (management fees plus all other fees) costs you more.

Ancillary Services:

Everything has become specialized these days.  Look at the medical field.  Tony's family is full of doctors dating back to the 1800's.  Tony recalls that his Grandpa and Uncles seemed to be able to fix anything and everything that came to them.  Today, you go to the family doctor who refers you to a host of specialists.  With property management being big business these days, Tony said that there are hundreds of support systems for property management that all focus on their specialty and they all come at a cost.  Who pays for it?  Who benefits? and Who profits from it?  A couple of examples provided were (1) are experts in screening applicant's pets and support/companion animals.  (2)  Filter Easy is a company that recognized that tenants do not replace their furnace filters on a regular basis, so they provide a service that delivers the proper filter at the proper time for the tenant to replace.  (3)  Renter's Liability is another product that benefits both the tenant and the property owner.  (4)  Property inspectors and property inspection reporting has really progressed, but also has become very expensive.

Next week Tony discusses the areas that he plays an active role in along with some areas that he stays completely out of and trusts the recommendations from the property manager.

Tony Drost

Virtual Tours with 360 Cameras

Jim Sharone - Tuesday, April 2, 2019

We recently made an investment to improve our marketing for upcoming rental units. While this will supplement our current marketing plan, we feel that this new technology will add a great deal of value to our prospective tenants and property owners, while injecting a little fun!

Prospective tenants can tour a rental from the comfort of their own home and mobile devices. While we still feel that it is important to physically show a property, this new technology allows renters to get a good feel for the rental unit. This can be especially important for people who live out of state and are basically renting a property sight unseen or people who are too busy to physically see a property. Additionally, we pre-lease a majority of our rentals, so this added feature becomes even more of a benefit.

We think that this new technology gives the property an added marketing lift. The technology gives a high-quality, 360-degree view of every room of our available rentals and allows the user to navigate the entire property. This definitely sets us apart from other properties and/or companies and should reduce the number of days a rental is on the market.

Like marketing photos, it’s important to create the virtual tours when the property is vacant and rent ready. As we mentioned earlier, we do pre-lease most of our properties, meaning we have a new tenant in place before the current tenant vacates. And generally, the tenant wants to move in the moment the cleaners are finished. We don’t want our owners to lose a day of rent so that we can go take new photos and a virtual tour, so it’s understandable that we may not get the opportunity to shoot new photos and a create a virtual tour for every property right away.

Do you remember the classic search books “Where’s Waldo”?! Well we thought we would add an element of fun to the new technology by hiding a miniature Waldo somewhere in every virtual tour. We are hoping that this will increase the amount of prospective tenants taking the virtual tours, improve our SEO (search engine optimization), and increase the fun!

Isn’t technology great?!

Can you find Waldo?!

Jim Sharone, Vice President

The Value of Employee Development

Julie Tollifson - Monday, March 18, 2019

As a successful property management company not only in the Boise area but among many property managers in the nation, First Rate Property Management understands the importance of continuous improvement. In fact, our company's vision statement is, "Maintain recognition as the most reputable property management company within our industry through continuous improvement".  In any business the value of continuous growth is crucial in its success. When you first think of continuous improvement, the first thoughts that come to mind are process, product/service, and people.

I’d like to narrow the focus of continuous improvement to our employees. We work hard to provide our employees the opportunity to develop professionally. Through the National Association of Residential Property Management our employees are able to network among the best, gain creative ideas, and acquire education designations. These designations include Residential Management Professional (RMP®), Master Property Manager (MPM®), & the widely respected Certified Residential Management Company (CRMC®). These opportunities allow for innovative growth in the company, industry, and leadership ability of each of our team members.


First Rate Property Management is extremely proud to be the only property management company in Idaho to have 2 MPMs on staff and  we also have the most RMPs on staff totaling 4. We are also 1 of 3 in all of Idaho that holds our CRMC® designation. 

Tony Drost MPM® RMP®

Melissa Sharone MPM® RMP®

Kristen Curtis RMP®

Jim Sharone RMP®

The development and education of our team members enables a positive work environment, streamlined communication internally and externally, and forms a company prepared for growth to come organically.

Julie Tollifson

Leasing Team Leader