Managing Your Property

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Damon Riley
  • Rental Property Investor
  • Granite Bay, CA
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Autumn Property Management (Michigan)

Damon Riley
  • Rental Property Investor
  • Granite Bay, CA
Posted Feb 22 2021, 10:48

Is anyone familiar with Autumn Property Management in Waterford, MI? They are taking over the PM duties from Proway (which was an arm of Strategic Properties, LLC). One source was optimistic that they'd be more responsive to and communicable with properties owners. It was my understanding that this transition would take place in January, but just yesterday I finally received a PM Agreement via DocuSign from them with essentially the same verbiage the Proway agreement. I'm stuck on the "Fee" Section...Why should I pay a $200 "Lease Renewal Fee" if the current tenant wishes to extend? This is a nominal cost. The second issue is under the "Term" section - Why should I agree to pay a $1000 finder's fee if I chose to sell the property prior to the end of this agreement which extends to 2/28/22? Autumn did NOT place this tenant!?

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Drew Sygit#5 All Forums Contributor
  • Property Manager
  • Birmingham, MI
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Drew Sygit#5 All Forums Contributor
  • Property Manager
  • Birmingham, MI
Replied Oct 3 2022, 05:40

@Patrick Stone @Geraldine Araneda they are now also terminating owners, claiming they don't have enough staff to manage.

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Replied Oct 3 2022, 08:42
Quote from @Drew Sygit:

@Patrick Stone @Geraldine Araneda they are now also terminating owners, claiming they don't have enough staff to manage.


 Hi Drew, yes I got the same notice but I gave them my 60 day notice at the start of August.  I'm officially out from under them, but have not received a dime or a statement since August.  They say they will settle-up this week??

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Drew Sygit#5 All Forums Contributor
  • Property Manager
  • Birmingham, MI
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Drew Sygit#5 All Forums Contributor
  • Property Manager
  • Birmingham, MI
Replied Oct 4 2022, 06:21

@Patrick Stone @Geraldine Araneda you may want to report them to the Michigan Board of Real Estate and the Attorney General.

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Replied Oct 21 2022, 14:32

So many bad experiences... either I am too patient or too stupid for waiting so long. I just posted a complaint in the Michigan BBB and already looking for some other PM company to take over. Autumn PM is a total disaster..

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Drew Sygit#5 All Forums Contributor
  • Property Manager
  • Birmingham, MI
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Drew Sygit#5 All Forums Contributor
  • Property Manager
  • Birmingham, MI
Replied Oct 22 2022, 05:39

@Raul Sales Contact us with any questions, we are familiar with Autumn issues.

In our experience, the #1 mistake owners make when selecting a Property Management Company (PMC) is ASSUMING instead of CONFIRMING.

It's often a case of not doing enough research, as they don't know what they don't know!

Owners mistakenly ASSUME all PMCs offer the exact SAME SERVICES and PERFORM those services EXACTLY THE SAME WAY, so price is the only differentiator.

So, the first question they usually ask a PMC is about fees - instead of asking about services and HOW those services are executed.

EXAMPLE: PMC states they will handle tenant screening – what does that specifically mean? What documents do they require, what credit scores do they allow, how do they verify previous rental history, etc.? You’d be shocked by how little actual screening many PMC’s do!

This also leads owners to ASSUME simpler is better when it comes to management contracts.

The reality is the opposite - if it's not in writing then the PMC doesn't have to provide the service or can charge extra for it!

We have a 14-page management contract that we've added our real experiences to over the years, with the intent of protecting both us AND the landlord. Beyond the Monthly Management, Placement & Maintenance fees, all other fees in our contract are IF EVENT -> THEN fees.

We don’t know any PMCs to recommend in the area mentioned, but since selecting the wrong PMC is usually more harmful than selecting a bad tenant, you might want to read our series about “How to Screen a PMC Better than a Tenant”:

https://www.biggerpockets.com/member-blogs/3094/91877-how-to-screen-a-pmc-better-than-a-tenant-part-1-services-and-processes

We recommend you get management contracts from several PMCs and compare the services they cover and, more importantly, what they each DO NOT cover.

EDUCATE YOURSELF - yes, it will take time, but will lead to a selection that better meets your expectations & avoids potentially costly surprises!

P.S. If you just hire the cheapest or first PMC you speak with and it turns into a bad experience, please don’t assume ALL PMC’s are bad and start trashing PMC’s in general. Take ownership of your mistake and learn to do the proper due diligence recommended above😊

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Scott M.
  • Real Estate Broker
  • Rochester Hills, MI
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Scott M.
  • Real Estate Broker
  • Rochester Hills, MI
Replied Oct 22 2022, 08:05

For 3+ years we have been helping many, many current / former clients of the topic of this thread. The stories their clients have told us, the information we have gathered in the transition to us for management (or not!), talking with tenants….needless to say it is mind blowing.

The takeaway’s I can share on an open forum: 

- Download everything from your portal today.  Doesn’t matter if you think you need it or not, get everything

- Knowing how you are being treated, imagine how your tenants and your assets are being treated (or not). We have seen examples of clients being charged for a new roof that was never put on. We have seen examples of clients being told they need a new furnace but all it required was a blower motor. Tenants having similar complaints to owners

- EVERY client that has come over has had identical or extremely similar issues. I don’t know if it helps to know you are not alone in your struggle, in your feelings, in your experience, but you are not. Sad to say, but it is the opposite

- If you signed the management agreement they made clients sign in mid-2022 you likely have a 60 day termination period. Read this section of your agreement and understand that you need to act NOW. 

- I know clients that have had to hire lawyers to try and get funds owed back.  Start early and start now.

    The bottom-line advice I can share to everyone looking to move is to give notice sooner or later (but after you download everything from your portal). Knowing where you are going isn’t as important as starting the clock. It took you months to get to this point, the time for action is now. 

    I would not waste one second today on filing complaints.  That is a secondary task.  I understand the anger and frustration, but you need to focus 100% of your attention on making the positive changes necessary for you to regain control of one of (if not the) largest asset(s) you have.  Kind of like when you are in an airplane and they tell you to put your mask on first before you help others.  In a week or three, after you know where you are going you can come back to filing complaints and warning others.  And trust me, for others out there looking, there are already plenty of warning signs about the topic of this thread.  You need to focus 100% of your attention right now on your own assets.  Then send up the flare warning others. 

    Not saying we are the right partner for you, but it isn’t a waste of your time to have a call with a local real estate broker, licensed builder & owner of a full-service property management company in Metro Detroit.  I am also a client of our services as I am an active 22 year, very active investor myself. 

    Here to help and assist those we can. 

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    Damon Riley
    • Rental Property Investor
    • Granite Bay, CA
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    Damon Riley
    • Rental Property Investor
    • Granite Bay, CA
    Replied Nov 11 2022, 10:11

    I can't believe that it's been over 2 years since my original post on Autumn.  I did have a new manager take over for Monica and I did have one (fairly) productive conversation on the phone with the new PM.  My rents generally arrive consistently at the very very end of the month (w/one exception that they skipped a month because they forgot to request section 8 funds from the MSHDA).  

    That said, I still don't get a timely response from property management.  I have the same tenant who refuses to sign a new lease with Autumn (almost 2 years later) and who refuses to pay her water/sewer bill (even though it was expressly stated in original lease).  This has cost me thousands of dollars despite getting some initial relief from the rehab co. and funds from MI to offset utility bills during COVID.  I've researched (w/o an attorney) the MI requirement to provide an affidavit of tenant responsibility to the municipality, but this ship has sailed with this tenant until I can get them to sign a new lease or boot them out.  I have also received absolutely NO help from the City of Dearborn Heights....the water department just states over and over that "water/sewer follow the property" - yes I know!   I've left messages/sent emails to the city, the mayor, and they absolutely ignore me!  

    The PM was supposed to set up a ledger for the tenant to pay her water/sewer...and I've now been asking for an update for two months with nothing......I'm not sure if I should evict the tenant, or move to another management company first to see what they can do....I signed a Property Management Agreement back in 2/21...so I'd have to give them 60-day notice.....I've waited way too long..............venting....sorry.

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    Drew Sygit#5 All Forums Contributor
    • Property Manager
    • Birmingham, MI
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    Drew Sygit#5 All Forums Contributor
    • Property Manager
    • Birmingham, MI
    Replied Nov 11 2022, 13:12

    @Damon Riley you won't get anywhere with the city and the water affavit:( 

    Even though a Michigan law requires the cities to do so for a 12+ month lease, there is no penalty for cities that do not comply.

    The reason - the cities do NOT want to worry about collecting past due water bills! Currently, if a water bill is not paid, the city sells it to the county, then the county puts it on the property taxes with 12% penalties, and if you don't pay the taxes they foreclose.

    This tenant has now become "addicted" to not paying water and extermely unlikely to change.

    Start eviction now so they will be out by spring - the best time to find a new tenant.

    Email us if you have any other questions as we don't do the DM thing here.

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    Annette Hibbler
    • Real Estate Consultant
    • Brighton, MI
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    Annette Hibbler
    • Real Estate Consultant
    • Brighton, MI
    Replied Nov 11 2022, 13:30

    Coldwell Banker in Brighton just opened up their property management division. Interestingly enough, they also manage Airbnbs. They have an office in Milford too which is closer to Waterford. The website is TCStayz.com

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    Damon Riley
    • Rental Property Investor
    • Granite Bay, CA
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    Damon Riley
    • Rental Property Investor
    • Granite Bay, CA
    Replied Nov 14 2022, 09:13
    Quote from @Drew Sygit:

    @Damon Riley you won't get anywhere with the city and the water affavit:( 

    Even though a Michigan law requires the cities to do so for a 12+ month lease, there is no penalty for cities that do not comply.

    The reason - the cities do NOT want to worry about collecting past due water bills! Currently, if a water bill is not paid, the city sells it to the county, then the county puts it on the property taxes with 12% penalties, and if you don't pay the taxes they foreclose.

    This tenant has now become "addicted" to not paying water and extermely unlikely to change.

    Start eviction now so they will be out by spring - the best time to find a new tenant.

    Email us if you have any other questions as we don't do the DM thing here.


     Hey Drew - Thank you for the advice....writing was certainly 'on the wall'.  Hope and wishful thinking are certainly not affective business strategies.  I'll keep your info handy.

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    Lisa T.
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    Replied Nov 16 2022, 19:34

    Ironically ... I was on uTube this weekend and watched a post by Ali Boone on Detroit.  Her new contact there is none other than Al Bazzy with Strategy Properties.  It blew my mind that Strategy Properties is out there with the same sales pitch and talking about the great work their rehab teams do. I could show you shocking pictures of that not being the case and they were always months late in delivering the final rehab.  He talked up the property manager they refer their buyers to.  [I'm assuming it's still Autumn Property Management.  Everyone knows that Autumn ran Strategy Properties in-house property management team, ProWay, before she started her own company and 30 days later we were all unceremoniously 'assigned' to her new company.  I think that's common knowledge, right?]

    I have always followed Ali Boone, and learned a lot from her but this was an eye-opener.  We connected with Strategy Properties through Real Wealth Network.  I naively assumed if someone had an affiliate or preferred vendor they would do a better job of vetting them AND if things went wrong would proactively make things right.  Tough and very expensive lesson to learn.

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    Drew Sygit#5 All Forums Contributor
    • Property Manager
    • Birmingham, MI
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    Drew Sygit#5 All Forums Contributor
    • Property Manager
    • Birmingham, MI
    Replied Nov 17 2022, 02:58

    @Lisa T. no one local has anything good to say about the aforementioned.

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    Replied Nov 24 2022, 09:57
    Quote from @Lisa T.:

    Ironically ... I was on uTube this weekend and watched a post by Ali Boone on Detroit.  Her new contact there is none other than Al Bazzy with Strategy Properties.  It blew my mind that Strategy Properties is out there with the same sales pitch and talking about the great work their rehab teams do. I could show you shocking pictures of that not being the case and they were always months late in delivering the final rehab.  He talked up the property manager they refer their buyers to.  [I'm assuming it's still Autumn Property Management.  Everyone knows that Autumn ran Strategy Properties in-house property management team, ProWay, before she started her own company and 30 days later we were all unceremoniously 'assigned' to her new company.  I think that's common knowledge, right?]

    I have always followed Ali Boone, and learned a lot from her but this was an eye-opener.  We connected with Strategy Properties through Real Wealth Network.  I naively assumed if someone had an affiliate or preferred vendor they would do a better job of vetting them AND if things went wrong would proactively make things right.  Tough and very expensive lesson to learn.


     Hi Lisa,

    Your contribution to the overwhelming dissatisfaction with Autumn Property Management (APM) was an eyeopener. but there are a couple of comments that I don't believe is accurate.

    I started with Strategy back in 2015 and just before they spun off the property management division, they created ProWay and sold that to APM.  The partnership with Strategy/ProWay APM was very short lived, so Strategy hooked up with Real Property Management (RPM) to manage the investment homes they sold.  Yes, some of the tradesmen Strategy used were very poor and I also had a couple experiences with that, however, my complaints were always rectified at Strategy expense and also waved the new tenant fee because if what happened.

    I have just parted way with APM and now spending over 10K to bring the property back because of the poor workmanship from trades people when they eventually showed up.  They stopped attending to repairs requested by the tenant and not even dealing with the city on certs?  I have just completed a complaint with BBB on APM and got no resolve!!

    RPM has been wonderful to deal with and get immediate action, best of all is the rent money is deposited within days of them receiving it, before the 8th of the month...APM payments went into the following month.

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    Andrew West
    • Investor
    • SE Michigan/Detroit
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    Andrew West
    • Investor
    • SE Michigan/Detroit
    Replied Nov 25 2022, 12:12

    My wife and I own quite a few properties in the Metro Detroit/Detroit market.  We know all to well the pain of bad management.  As an aside, RPM who is mentioned in the thread above does not have contractors for Detroit or all cities.  They may say they do but check around, read other threads, lots of people have told us privately they don't and as such you should be careful.

    Back to my main point, we almost gave up on our real estate investment dream due to poor managers and agents in the Metro Detroit/Detroit Market.  We went through quite a few of them.  Before throwing in the towel we ended up doing a massive research project.  Contacted ~20-25 local managers and asked them all the same questions, a very large number of questions.  Got all of their documents, compared everything.  We then selected 2 and split our portfolio. After 6-8 months there was a clear winner and we gave them all of our business. They have been our manager now for some years and we could not be happier.  We have done everything with them.  Lease, release, maintenance, full turns, bought homes, sold homes.

    They provide services and information and data that no other local manager provides. I have talked to quite a few former clients of Autumn as well before and after I sent them to who we use and 100% of them are thrilled.  

    Communication is beyond excellent. They are also investors and know what investors want/need and as such provide us with what we want/need.

    Because of the high number of scamming/terrible management companies we are happy to talk to anyone who wants to ask us questions.  Investor to investor.  We can share our experience, answer questions and give our recommendations as well.  

    Feel free to send us a message here.  We love helping out other investors and saving them from the pain we went through!