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Charleston Property Management | Finding Rental Properties to Invest In

Real estate investing in single-family rental homes can be very fun and gives investors the ability to purchase homes that they love, while still making passive income and profits. Charleston property management companies, can help you choose the perfect neighborhoods to invest in, but there are a few other ways you can find the ideal rental property investment.

  1. Search the MLS- Multiple listing service, or MLS, is a database of homes for sale. Zillow and Realtor.com use the MLS to show you homes for sale based on your parameters such as price range, zip code, neighborhood, and time on the market. You can also reach out to a realtor or Charleston property management company to help you with your single-family rental home search.
  2. Turnkey Rental Properties- Turnkey rentals properties are homes that were purchased and renovated by investors, then put back up for sale quickly. This is also called “house flipping.” Contact some of the turnkey property owners in the area you are looking to purchase property, and you can find yourself buying a home that is already move-in ready.
  3. Wholesale Homes- Some investors make a living purchasing off-market investments at low prices at auctions or foreclosures. These homes often need a lot of work, and the investors sell the houses for a small markup. Most wholesale properties will require cash upfront to purchase, and financing may be more difficult for these types of properties. However, if you’re handy and want a renovation project, wholesale options might be an excellent option for you.
  4. Direct Marketing- The perfect rental home for a Charleston property management company start-up might not even be on the market yet. You can target homeowners that are likely to want to sell their home by starting a direct mail campaign. Look for pre-foreclosure lists, properties that were recently put through probate, or free-and-clear properties of elderly citizens that may be close to retirement and looking to downsize and send postcards or letters with offers to buy.

Charleston property management companies are an excellent resource for investors looking for the perfect home to rent. Property managers can help you determine the market rent for the neighborhoods you are interested in and can give you insight into industry trends.

If you are interested in working with Charleston property management teams, call Scott Properties at 843-352-8341.

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Rental Property Management in Charleston | How Important Are A Tenants Finances?

Rental Property Management in Charleston | How Important Are A Tenants Finances?

When screening tenants, rental property management in Charleston takes finances into consideration as one of the main qualifications for rent; however, some tenants are often frustrated with rules on their finances because it often keeps them from renting their dream home. Even if a tenant has a shining star next to all the other qualifications, rental property management in Charleston should not overlook the tenant’s ability to pay the rent.

How Much Should the Income to Rent Ratio Be For Rental Property In Charleston?

The standard qualification for income to rent ratio is that tenants should have a household gross income equal to three times the amount of rent in order to sufficiently afford the rent. Property management companies in places where the cost of living is lower can sometimes slide down to an expectation of 2.5 times the amount of rent; however rental property management in Charleston often recommends that gross income should be 3.5 times the rent because the cost of living is higher. If tenants get behind on their other bills or utilities the chance that they will pay their rent late is much greater. Property managers need to ensure that tenants can afford to live in the home, not just have the ability to pay on paper.

What is Considered Income?

If a potential tenant doesn’t meet the income requirements for a home based on their employment alone, remind them of the other possible sources of income they may be getting that they can include on their application including:

  • Grants or Student Aid
  • Scholarships
  • Income of other adults in the home
  • Interest on accounts
  • Disability payments
  • Child support payments
  • Social security payments
  • Dividends from stocks
  • Unemployment compensation
  • Cash payments

Although it is not recommended, some landlords will bypass income qualifications for tenants that offer to pay the term of their lease in cash upfront as this is guaranteed payment. When this happens, you run the risk of tenants that wouldn’t usually qualify and could cause other problems later when it is lease renewal time.

If you want to work with a property manager who understands tenant screening, call Scott Properties at 843-972-9008.

 

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Property Manager | What You Should Never Mention on Property Tours

Property Manager | What You Should Never Mention on Property Tours

One of the most important jobs a property manager has is to ensure that homes are not vacant for long. When a tenant moves out of a home and another tenant is not lined up to move in, you might find yourself spending days on end meeting potential renters and giving them tours of the home. When giving prospects the rundown on a home, you want to sell them on the very best features while also making sure that the home will be the right fit. While you should never lie to a tenant, there are a few things you should avoid mentioning when giving a property tour.

Here’s what a Property Manager should avoid mentioning while giving a tour

  1. Previous Tenants- Prospective renters may ask you about the previous tenants but a property manager should remember to keep private information to themselves. You shouldn’t discuss with tenants the race, nationality, age, job, or other identifying information about past tenants. In the same regard you should avoid speaking ill about past tenants as a good business practice and moral decency.
  2. Pest Control Problems- The last thing you want to do is announce how the last tenant had a cockroach problem that pest control has mitigated. Prospective tenants will be unlikely to believe the problem is gone and worry that the home is not clean. Unless there is a current pest control issue that needs to be addressed there is no need to delve into the past. Instead, let tenants know about your pest control policy and any regular pest control maintenance such as preventative spraying that is provided by the property manager.
  3. Don’t Make Assumptions- Never assume that the people touring the property can’t afford it, won’t like it, or aren’t going to qualify for the home. You also shouldn’t assume that all the great aspects of the neighborhood will be favored by the prospective tenants so keeping statements general and trying to leave out opinion is also a great rule of thumb.

Property managers and leasing professionals should have great salesmanship skills and be able to market your property the right way to ensure low vacancy and quality tenants. Many landlords and leasers make the mistake of saying the wrong thing during showings that send potential tenants running the other direction. Don’t let the same thing happen to you!

If you are ready to work with a Charleston property manager that knows how to market your home effectively, call Scott Properties at 843-972-9008.

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Property Manager | How to Determine Price of Rent

Property Manager | How to Determine Price of Rent

You’ve made the jump into property investment and purchased a single-family home to rent out—Great! Maybe you’ve even completed the remodel and the unit is move-in ready. Before you start marketing your home for rent the most important thing you need to determine is what you are going to charge for rent.

Here are the things a property manager needs to take into consideration when assigning a rent value to a home:

  1. Home Value- The rule of thumb is to charge between .8 and 1.1% of your home’s value in monthly rent. A home that has a market value of $250,000 can be expected to charge anywhere from $2,000-$2,750 for rent each month.
  2. Market Rent- Just because the formula for figuring out rent determines you can charge thousands per month doesn’t mean you should. A great property manager will survey the area and find out what others are charging for similar single-family homes in the area. Keep rental prices comparable to remain competitive in the neighborhood.
  3. Repair Costs- If you had to invest money into the home to get it rent-ready you should take these costs into consideration when determining rent value.
  4. Upgrades- Is the property full of modern amenities, appliances, brand new carpeting, freshly painted walls, a new roof, landscaping or other upgrades? When determining the rent amount, if you’ve made upgrades to the home you can charge higher end of the rent range.
  5. Rent Control- Are there laws and ordinances in the neighborhood that determine maximums that can be charged for rent or deposits? Many communities put a cap on rent and no matter how luxurious your home is, you might not be able to charge what you would like for the property.

Once you determine the rent value you want to charge your next step is marketing the home and getting tenants to apply. A property manager in Charleston is the perfect solution for every step of your rental property needs.

If you’re ready to hire a property manager, call Scott Properties at 843-972-9008.

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Charleston Property Management | Hardwood vs. Carpet in Rentals

Charleston Property Management | Hardwood vs. Carpet in Rentals

One of the things a Charleston property management company should consider when upgrading a rental home is whether to change the flooring. This choice usually comes into play when tenants move out of a home and have left the carpeting stained and ripped, or the hardwood floors scuffed and scratched. Check out the perks of hardwood and carpet so you can decide which is best for your rental home needs.

Pros and Cons of Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood flooring are easy to clean and maintain. Hardwood floors tend to last longer than carpet and with proper maintenance can even last the lifetime of the home, unlike carpet. Hardwood also enhances the overall look of your home which can help the property rent or sell faster. Charleston property management companies will save money on carpet cleaning services between tenants if they choose hardwood flooring instead.
The negative aspects of hardwood flooring include the initial cost of installation and the cost to restore if tenants damage the flooring. Moving furniture, spills that aren’t cleaned up, and moisture can ruin hardwood. Wood floors are also noisier than carpet and don’t absorb any of the sound from footsteps. Hardwood floors aren’t as warm as carpeting either and can be shocking on cold morning with bare feet.

Pros and Cons of Carpeting

Families tend to love carpeting when they have small children because carpeting is soft, plush, and doesn’t hurt as much when you fall. Carpeting is also warm and inviting and can make a room feel comfortable and inviting whereas hardwood can look stuffy and rigid. Carpeting also costs far less than hardwood to install.

The negatives associated with carpeting include the durability and longevity. Families with children or pets will wear the carpet down quickly forcing Charleston property management companies to replace it more often. This expense can add up quickly. To properly maintain the carpets in rental homes professional carpet cleaning needs to be completed at least once per year and this cost often will fall on the property manager as well.

There are several other styles of flooring that also make great options for rental homes including laminate and tile. However, carpeting and hardwood are the two best options for single-family rental homes in most cases.  If you’re looking for a property management company that understands how to increase your home value and potential, call Scott Properties at 843-972-9008.

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Charleston Property Management | What to Look for In Investment Property

Charleston Property Management | What to Look for In Your First Investment Property

Getting into real estate and single-family rental homes is a very exciting time. More people than ever are investing in properties to use as long and short-term rentals and using Charleston property management companies to produce bigger than ever profits. Before you begin looking into the Charleston property management teams to build upon your success however, you need to purchase your first investment property. Making a large investment such as a home can be nerve wrecking, but if you keep these five things in mind while looking, you’re sure to find the perfect property to turn into a single-family rental home.

Location is Everything For Your Property

Location is the most important factor to consider when purchasing your first investment property. The location of the home will determine the amount of rent you can charge, the quality of renter you will entice, and the vacancy rate you could experience. You should investigate the safety, market rent, and home values in the neighborhoods you are considering purchasing property in.

Property Management Financial Aspects

What is the home selling for and how much will it cost to make it rent ready? Many first-time investors will try to buy homes at auctions or foreclosures because they are getting a great deal on the first year’s property taxes and assessed home value; however, depending on the cost of rehabilitation needed, homeowners can find themselves in a hole. You want to choose the property that makes the most financial sense with the least amount of risk.

Maintenance Is Key In Property Management

Some investment properties will take more maintenance than others to hold their value. Student and vacation rentals, older single-family homes, and low budget apartments always end up having high maintenance costs. Choosing a home with high maintenance risk is another great reason to invest in Charleston property management as well. Let a team of professionals handle the maintenance so it gets done correctly and quickly.

You might be tempted to let your emotions play a role in purchasing your first property, but you must look at each home as a business rather than somewhere you would want to live yourself. Working with a property manager is the best way to increase your home market savvy and get investment properties under your belt that have a huge return on investment.

If you’re ready to start a partnership with a property manager in Charleston, call Scott Properties at 843-972-9008.

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Charleston Property Management and Tenant Retention

Charleston Property Management | If you own rental properties one of your concerns should be tenant retention. When tenants decide to move out of your property you are left with a vacancy and time where rent is not being collected. When tenants move out, you must spend money on cleaning services, maintenance, repairs, repainting, carpet shampooing, marketing, and many other expenses. Making sure your great tenants don’t move out is essential and Charleston property management can help property owners decrease their vacancies and increase their retention rates.

Some ways that Charleston property management can help you increase your tenant retention are:

  • Being Available:Tenants want to know that they are being heard by their landlords or property managers. They get frustrated when maintenance requests or questions go unanswered or when they cannot get ahold of the property owner to arrange rent payments or renew a lease. If you own more than one rental property, you can feel inundated with calls from tenants. Using Charleston property management to manage your rental homes means that you don’t have to be at the beck and call of your tenants, but they are still being helped with amazing service through a property manager!
  • Handling Maintenance: Handling the maintenance on your property can be tiresome and tedious, especially if you do not live near your rental property. Tenants also expect their maintenance issues to be dealt with in a timely fashion if they have to have repaired. Charleston, property management employees, are adept at making quick decisions that are within your budget and deploying the right vendors to the home to fix issues quickly. Also, property managers can get ahead of maintenance issues by conducting inspections of the house, changing the air filter quarterly and regularly checking in with their tenants to make sure the home is to standard.
  • Doing Extra-Tenants tend to stay in homes where the landlord or property manager goes above and beyond or out of their way to ensure that tenants are satisfied and happy. Some of the things that Charleston property management firms could consider are offering vouchers off rent for referrals that sign a one year lease, providing free carpet cleanings, having a grace period on rent due date, keeping up landscaping or providing lawn services, offering online access to rent accounts.

If you are ready to see what a difference using a Charleston property management company can make, contact Scott Properties today!

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Charleston Property Management | How You Can Improve Your Charleston Property Management Service

Charleston is a vacation destination but also has a huge population and a lot of renters. When you have a Charleston property management service, you’ll want to do everything you can to expand your business as homes are turned into rental property. Of course, you can’t just jump into managing multiple single-family homes without improving your property management service. Here are a few things the best Charleston property management companies do when they are expanding their properties:

1. Online Owner Portal- Communication between a property owner and a Charleston property management company needs to be easy, simple, and fluid. When you use property management software to utilize tenant and owner portals for online rent payment, uploading lease or vendor documents, maintenance requests, and even email with owners.

2. Be Flexible- When a Charleston property management company begins taking on new owner clients, they need to have ways of being flexible because each owner and property will be different. Some owners may not like using an online owner portal to communicate and prefer phone calls. Others might want extraordinarily little contact with your Charleston property management service, while others may want to checkin frequently. It is up to the property manager to be flexible with their clients.

3. Use Efficient Processes- Whenever possible, a Charleston property management company should use the same screening, leasing, and maintenance processes with each of the homes they manage. While there may be some minor differences in what owners want, most will leave the property management in the manager’s hands and remain mostly handsoff. The more the company can streamline the processes involved in renting, the more units they can handle.

4. Use Preferred Vendors- Establish relationships with local vendors such as cleaning services, painters, plumbers, electricians, etc. When you have multiple homes that need maintenance and repairs, establishing a list of preferred vendors will usually save a Charleston property management company a lot of time and money.

If you own rental property and are looking for a Charleston property management company that is efficient, flexible, great at communication, and can save you money, call Scott Properties at 843-790-0148.

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Charleston Property Management | Top Reasons Why A Property Manager Gets Fired

Charleston Property Management | Finding the perfect property manager can be difficult, and some property owners may go through more than one property manager before they find the best one for long term employment. If singlefamily home property managers want to ensure they have a great working relationship with the homeowners, there are a few things they can do (or not do) that could help them to keep the job and not get fired.

Check out the most common reasons that property managers tend to get fired:

1. Property Maintenance- A home is a huge investment for owners, and they need to rely on their property manager to ensure that the property is being kept in good shape. Tenants have a big responsibility in keeping homes intact; however, the property manager needs to ensure that maintenance issues are taken care of promptly, so they don’t become worse, and that they are doing inspections and holding tenants accountable. When homes start to fall apart, and things aren’t getting fixed, a property manager is likely to be fired.

2. Communication Issues- Working with people you cannot communicate with is difficult, and homeowners and property managers need to be able to do this easily. One of the best ways is to use an online portal where you can upload documents and manage tenant accounts online. Make communication with the owner easy, so you don’t need to worry about being fired over a miscommunication.

3. Poor Occupancy Rates- If a property manager is not keeping homes rented out, the owner isn’t making any money. In fact, they may be seeing a lot of money going to waste on employees and marketing, which will not bode well for the property manager. You have to keep homes filled to keep your job.

Property managers who can keep homes in good shape, communicate well, and keep homes filled, will have great success in this industry.

If you’re looking for top Charleston Property Management companies in SC, call Scott Properties at 843-790-0148 and find out what we can do for your rental property.

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Why A Property Manager Shouldn’t Accept Cash Rent

Typically one of the greatest priorities a landlord or property manager has is making sure that tenants pay their rent on time. However, there are only certain types of payments that should be accepted, and these payment types should be clearly outlined in all lease agreements.

In most cases, rent should be paid by check, money order, cashiers check, or with a card or other electronic payment through an online tenant portal. There should be provisions in the lease that detail to the tenants exactly what payment methods are acceptable. It is highly unadvisable to accept cash payments for a number of reasons:

Cash is hard to account for. A deceitful property manager might claim that a tenant was $100 short on the rent when they were not. A tenant could claim they dropped an envelope with cash in the rent dropbox, but there may not be any evidence. Checks and money orders can be reissued and tracked, so can online payments.

A property manager should keep as little cash in the office as possible. Rent is expensive, and if your tenants are dropping off large sums of cash to the property management office, this turns your business into a target for burglary and robbery. This is the last thing a property manager wants because it will make tenants feel unsafe, even if they live far away from the rental office.

You must treat all tenants equally and cannot make exceptions for tenants. If the lease says no cash payments, and a tenant brings the rent into the office in cash, you should ask them to go get a money order. Do not make an exception, even if it’s the day rent is due and five minutes before the office closes.

The best property management companies in Charleston are flexible and have great payment options for their tenants, so that paying the rent is easy. If you want to know what kind of payment system Scott Properties uses to help our tenants pay on time, every time, give us a call at 843-790-0148.