Frequently Asked Questions for Prospective and Future Residents

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How much is the application fee?

The application fee it $20 per applicant.  Every person 18 years of age and older wanting to reside on the property is considered an applicant and must submit an application in full, along with the corresponding application fee, before any applications can be considered.

What are the qualifications for being approved for a property (how much money do I have to make)?

We are working with neighbors and other landlords to maintain the quality of the neighborhood.  We want to make sure that our residents are good neighbors.  To that end, we have a thorough screening process.
We run credit checks, criminal checks, verify employment, verify rental history and we look to see not less than four (4) times the rental amount as monthly income (this calculation changes if some or all of the utilities are included in the rent).  We take everything into consideration including evictions, foreclosures and bankruptcy the applicant’s character, general reputation, personal character references and mode of living.  One key thing we look for is truthfulness.  Any misinformation or missing information will result in disqualifying an application.
If you meet the application criteria and your application is accepted, you will have the peace of mind of knowing that other residents who are looking to rent from us are being screened with equal care.  We provide equal housing opportunity.  We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, creed, color, national origin, marital status, sex, familial status, or handicap.

What do I need to apply for a property?

Each applicant will need to fill out an application in full, pay the application fee per applicant.  You may be asked to provide a copy of an ID and proof of income.

How long does the application process take?

We can usually let you know if your application has been approved within 48-72 hours after we receive your application(s).

Do you accept assistance agencies?

Yes, we do work with rental assistance agencies and Section 8.

What do I do if I’m interested in a property and how do I go about making an appointment?

Call us to find out how to view the inside of the property.

Can I apply for more than one home or apartment, if available?

Yes.  You may request information on all available rentals.  The application is the same for any rental or every rental.

How much does it cost to move in?

Typically you will have to pay the full security deposit, the City of Freeport Rental Registration fee, and the first full month’s rent.  If you have pets, you will also be required to pay the associated pet deposit(s) and supply proof of Renter’s Insurance (depending on certain breeds of dogs).  Some utility companies may require a deposit also, and that must be paid before moving in.

How long can you hold a property?

Usually not very long.  You may be given a “First Right of Refusal,” giving you the first right to move in sooner than planned, if we received an application from another qualified applicant who wants to move in sooner.  Call us if you need a more detailed explanation.

What are your hours?

Office hours are normally 8 AM to 5 PM, Monday through Friday.  Showings can be scheduled during or outside of these hours.  The office is closed on weekends and holidays.

How long will my lease be and do you do short-term leases?

12-month leases are our standard rental term.  Shorter term leases may also be available for a different rental rate.

Who do I call for maintenance?

Contact our office number at 815-233-HOME (815-233-4663).  If no one answers, leave a clear, detailed message, including your name, address, a working phone number and detailed description of your issue.

When is my rent considered late?

Rent is due on the first day of your rental period, and it is considered late if received even one day after the rental period due date (see your lease for your exact due date).

If I am vacating, do I need to give you notice?

We request that you give at least a 30-day written notice, on or before the first day of your final rental month.

I am on a fixed income or tight budget, can you lower the price?

No, the rent is as low as we can go at this time.  However, we can keep the rent the same or increases as low as possible if you pay rent on time each month and if you keep the property well maintained during the time you are renting the property.

Do you take credit cards, debit cards or accept other payment options?

Yes, we take credit and debit card payment through PayPal (you do not need a PayPal account to pay by PayPal).  There is an additional $15 charge for paying by credit or debit card.  You can also pay through your bank’s BillPay.

Do you allow pets?

Many (but not all) of our properties do allow pets.  Our pet policy is as follows:
Dogs: A Pet Deposit of $100 per dog is required on top of the normal Security Deposit.  In addition, for many breeds you are required to obtain (and keep in full force and effect during the entire tenancy while the animal resides at the property) Renter’s Insurance that covers your animal(s).  Renter’s Insurance is SMART whether you have any pets or not, and is quite inexpensive.  When obtaining Renter’s Insurance, you will need to list “Real Estate Options” as “Additional Insured.”  There is NO cost to do this.  We do require that your dog be kennel-trained and that you have a kennel for it.  Your dog(s) should be up to date on all vaccinations and be licensed and chipped (required by Stephenson County and the City of Freeport).
Cats: A Pet Deposit of $150 per cat is required on top of the normal Security Deposit.  Cats need to be up to date on all vaccinations.
All other pets: Ask us about what might be required.

How much is the Security Deposit? Do I get it back?

The amount of Deposit required varies depending on which property you are interested in.  The Security Deposit should be listed in each ad.  The GOAL is for ALL of your Security Deposits to come back to you (usually within 30 days of move-out).  It will, if you leave the place as when you moved in (refer to your “Move-In Condition Checklist”) except, obviously, for normal wear and tear and you have no other outstanding charges with us.  We are happy to say the majority of our outgoing residents receive all or most of their deposits back.