First Rate Property Management Blog

1st Quarter Vacancy Update!

Melissa Sharone - Monday, April 29, 2019

The SW Idaho Chapter of NARPM just released their 1st quarter vacancy report. It shows that vacancy overall is up from 3% to 3.4%. This is pretty typical for this time of year. The activity for rentals has definitely picked up in the last few months. The market is heating for single family homes with higher rents and lower vacancy then last quarter. FRPM still remains at about a 1% vacancy for both multifamily and single family rentals.  We expect to see rents continue to rise and the vacancy to stay low throughout the next quarter even with the increased rental activity. FRPM on average is renting properties within 15 days from the time notice is given.  Things still look promising for the Boise market.

Read full report here: SW Idaho Chapter of NARPM 1st quarter vacancy report 

Melissa Sharone, President 

First Rate Property Mgmt

Boise Rents Support High Prices

Tony Drost - Monday, April 15, 2019

Monthly, I calculate some key performance indicators to get an idea of where the market is trending within Ada County (Boise area).   In my opinion, the market remains strong with no flags of trouble.


On average, we're seeing 4 plexes sale at about $140,000 per door.  However, two  4 plexes built over 10 years ago just listed at $610,000.  Any new four plexes listed in the Boise and Meridian areas will likely we be well over $150,000 per door.  As you can see on the below graph, we've been trending upward.  So prices are going up.  However, as I explain below, rents are supporting the higher prices.


Base on Capitalization rates (Cap)  and Gross Rent Multiplier (GRM), rents are supporting these higher prices.  The trailing 6 month GRM average has been holding that $150 line fairly consistently.  The consistency, not necessarily the number adds confidence to me.  Also, Cap rates have been fairly consistent around the 5.25% range.  A  downward trend would concern me.

Days-On-Market (DOM):
 Last month my reported average DOM were incorrect due to a formula error on my graphs.  The below graph is correct.  Four plexes are not staying on market very long at all.

Tony Drost, Chairman

First Rate Property Management

Please contact me with any questions 

FRPMs Operations Manager Receiving Residential Property Manager Certification!

Julie Tollifson - Friday, April 12, 2019

FRPMs very own Operations Manager, Jim Sharone, received his Residential Property Manager (RMP®) Certification awarded to him by the National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM®), Southwest Idaho chapter! We are proud to have such an experienced, professional and now certified member of our leadership team! 

First Rate Metric Update

Melissa Sharone - Tuesday, April 9, 2019

We wanted to take a moment to update you on some metrics that First Rate tracks to help keep you updated on the market and any new trends that are headed our way. With the first quarter completed for 2019, things are looking great!

Vacancy – 1.85%- 

It happens to be turnover week which is why this may seem higher than the last time we posted. Out of 20 current vacancies 14 of them are rented and tenants will move in later this week. We anticipate our vacancy rate to be back under 1% by next week. Low vacancy is a great indicator that the market is strong and that we can continue to push rents.

Average days on market- 16.5 days

This tells us that there is a lot of activity in this market and that there is a high demand for rentals. FRPM starts advertising as soon as the tenants give notice and this metric tells you that on average the property is rented in 16 days. This means that the property is usually rented prior to the old tenant even moving out!

Turnover days – 4.87 days

This is a metric that we track to help show owners that we are committed to making sure that their investments are occupied as much as possible. Our maintenance team works hard to get the turn over inspection done the same day we receive keys and then the work is scheduled to be completed, usually in 3-5 business days, depending on condition. Our average of 4.87 days is a great turnover time and under the goal of 5 days that strive for day in and day out! We hope to keep on this pace as our leasing activity picks up into the summer.

Stay tuned for another metric update in a few weeks.  We are currently working on publishing a metric page that will be on our website and updated frequently.

Melissa Sharone, President 

contact me with further questions - 

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

Your Gift Horse Has Been Delivered!

System - Friday, March 29, 2019

On 3/22/19 the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee, which sets short-term interest rates, declined to raise rates.  Further, it appears the Fed’s current disposition is to not raise rates in the near-term.  

NYT 3/20/19:Forecasts released at the end of the two-day meeting show the typical member of the Federal Open Market Committee now expects not to raise rates at all this year, an abrupt halt to what had been five consecutive quarters of rate increases to the current range of 2.25 to 2.5 percent. Most officials now expect a single rate increase in 2020 and none in 2021. In December, when forecasts were last released, Fed officials said they expected two rate increases this year and another in 2020.

Long-term rates are influenced by, but not directly set by, the Fed.  That influence is currently weak.  The Yield Curve (US bonds with maturities of 12 months or less vs bonds with long maturities, e.g. 10 yrs) is Inverted, i.e., Yields on short Treasury bonds are higher than Yields on the 10 Yr Treasury bond.  While an Inverted Yield Curve is seen by many as a harbinger of recession, one can live in the moment and enjoy the benefits of low long-term interest rates.

Last November the 10 Yr Treasury bond yield hit a six year high of 3.24%.  Since then it has declined 80 basis points to 2.44% on 3/22/19.  See chart below.  

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

Blog and Vacancy Update!!

Melissa Sharone - Wednesday, March 13, 2019

New Blog:

   We have moved our blog to a new site. Please click the link below to subscribe to our new blog. This link will take you to our new site and you will see the subscribe box on the right hand side of the page. Just type in your e-mail and hit subscribe. It will then verify your e-mail and you will be good to go. Please contact with any questions.

Vacancy Update:

  As the warm weather slowly approaches we are seeing an increase in activity with properties.  While there is an increase of people giving notice for various reasons FRPM vacancy still remains .88%. Our vacancy is outstanding compared to the National average which is sitting at about 6% and the Treasure Valley which is about 2.5%. As things heat up we are still able to push rents for both renewals and newly vacant units.  All early signs are indicating that the market is still strong and shall remain that way through summer.

Melissa Sharone, President 

First Rate Property Mgmt

Metric Trends

Tony Drost - Thursday, March 7, 2019

We continue to see Ada County 4 plex values increasing at a steady rate.  The good news is that rents have been increasing as well.  According to the financial information on the Intermountain Multiple Listing Service and financials provided by listing agents, February's Gross Rent Multiplier (GRM)  dropped to 143 from 149 in January.  Compared to sales price, rents have increased.  The trailing 6-month average for GRM still remains at about 150.  With the higher rents, February's Cap rate also increased to 5.36 with a trailing 6-month average of 5.29%, which indicates Buyer's Net Operating Income has increased when compared to sales price.

Tony A Drost , MPM® RMP®

Blog I Income Property Sales I Rentals

Chairman, First Rate Property Management, Inc

A Certified Residential Management Company

Associate Broker, Swope Investment Properties


Set and Stagger Leases

Kristen Curtis - Monday, March 4, 2019

Over the years we at FRPM have consistently preached the importance of scheduling lease termination dates. We'd like to touch on this for only a moment, but then also discuss the importance of also staggering lease termination dates.

Its our experience and recommendation not to have leases expire in the late fall and winter months.  In talking with property managers across the nation, this is not always the case.  However, it appears to be a standard for areas like Boise with four TRUE seasons.  We consider summer time, the “prime time”; or the months of June, July, and August.  We throw May into that mix because those tenants who give notice in May vacate in June, which is a good time of the year to maximize rents and minimize vacancy.

Single family homes are a little different.  What we found is that a landlord can sneak those dates up to as early as March/April.  We may not be able to get maximum rents in March, but a March renewal rate seems to increase the chances a tenant will renew their lease.  The tenants don’t want to move within the school year, so they are more apt to renew.

Over this winter, there were a number of newly constructed multi-family rental units come on the rental market.  These managers signed one year leases.  So, guess what, next winter,  not only are all of the leases expiring outside the prime time, but all of the leases are coming up at the same time.  This leaves the Landlord a bit vulnerable.  What if the rental market is soft?  Do you really want vacancy and turnover costs all at one time?  The larger the multi-family  complex the more important it becomes to stagger lease termination dates.

For example, lets use a four plex that was constructed this winter.  The property manager fills all four and signs one year leases all expiring in January.  Again, the lease is expiring outside of the prime time and Landlord potentially has more vacancy and expenses all at the same time.  Instead, wouldn’t it make more sense to have one unit expire in May, another in June, then July, and the last one expire in August?  We think so.

Rentals within the Boise State University area are the exception.  In this case, we recommend having all leases expire at the end of July.  This is far enough outside of the end of school, that a fair amount of tenants will renew.  However for those tenants who do not renew, they will vacate and the rental unit will be ready for students starting in the fall semester.  It works like a dream.

Lastly, some may ask, “If this is common knowledge, then why in the world are there property managers who simply sign one-year leases regardless of the end date”?  They do it to spread their workload over the year.  So, its not for the investor’s benefit , but for their own.  Most larger apartment complexes do stagger lease termination dates throughout the year to purposely spread out the work.  Makes sense, with the exception of the winter months.  “OK, I see why the apartment complexes do it, but why are there property managers managing large 4 plex communities signing one-year leases with perhaps all 80 units expiring in the winter months?”  Beats me.

Kristen Curtis, Executive Assistant
First Rate Property Management, Inc.
Boise, Idaho
Contact me for more information about this blog.

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