Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Move-in Ready?

Recently, I leased a Charlotte property to a lovely young couple with two small children. Although this was a great property, priced right and in excellent shape, it had been on the market for more than 90 days. When I spoke with the owner about a light cleaning, he questioned the need, since the house had been thoroughly cleaned just prior to placing it on the market.

While I understood his position, I also felt the tenant's request was not unreasonable. Even a house in pristine condition today may need some TLC in as little as 30 days. Unused toilets can acquire a water mark, dust settles, and floors have been walked on by showing agents and their clients. Any one of these issues is a tiny thing, but combined, they require attention.

I also look at this, and similar requests by tenants, as a positive indicator of the condition they will keep the property. Most times, tenant's high expectations result in tenant's high standards, all great for owners and Property Managers!

For a list of our current vacancies or information about our property management services, visit our website at http://cmrpropertymanagement.com .

Friday, February 5, 2010

Why Owners Should Consider Professional Property Management

Many owners come to us frustrated and disenchanted with their role as a landlord. Many have a problem tenant behind on their rent, others are just too busy with their family and careers to deal with the day to day issues of property management. Others have been sitting on a vacant property for some time and need help finding a tenant.

As professional property managers, we handle issues such as these every day. We know how to deal with problem tenants, up to, and including the eviction process. Because of our stringent screening process, we minimize the chance of a similar problem with the next tenant. We screen not only credit, but criminal and eviction as well. Past records of collections, write-offs and evictions are a strong predictor of future behavior. We also obtain employment and prior landlord verifications.

For owners that are just too busy to continue managing their properties, we are here to help. Our property management team includes professionals to assist with maintaining your property in good condition. Our experienced property managers coordinate routine as well as emergency repairs. No more calls in the middle of the night for you! We also closely monitor tenant payments. All rents are due on the 1st of each month and are late on the 6th. Late notices are sent the 6th of the month, with 2nd notices sent on the 10th. If payment is not received by the 15th, eviction proceedings are initiated.

Our property managers know the Charlotte, Waxhaw, Monroe, Concord, Harrisburg, Fort Mill, and surrounding area markets, and will do an in-depth market analysis to determine a fair rental value for your property. We will market your property to minimize the time it is on the market, thus maximizing your income. We have the know-how to reach potential renters and the experience to weed out potential bad renters.

For more information about the benefits of professional property management phone us at 704-405-0634, or visit our site http://cmrpropertymanagement.com .

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Tenant Security Deposits

A common question asked by both owners and tenants regards the return of a tenant's security deposit. Once the lease term expires and the tenant moves out, we are required to return tenant's security deposit, less and damages, within 30 days of move out. The question is, how do we determine damages? The short answer is that tenants are responsible for damages over and beyond normal wear and tear.

As your property management company, it is our job to know, within reason, the condition of your property. During our initial visit to your property we make notes, take pictures, etc. Additionally, each tenant is provided with a move-in inspection form which is used to note any maintenance issues that need to be addressed, or to simply note something that they do not want to be held responsible for when they move out. A great example of this would be a carpet stain. Those of you that have children as well aware of the problem that occurs when a "red" beverage is spilled on carpet . . . it is nearly impossible to get out, even by a professional carpet cleaner. The owner has chosen not to replace the carpet, the stain may be small and will be hidden by furniture. The tenant needs to note the location of this stain on the move-in inspection form so that they have it on record that the issue existed when they moved in. Because we use this same form for move-out inspections, the tenant's security deposit would not be charged.

Which brings us to normal wear and tear. Will a tenant's security deposit be charged to repaint the house? If there is only normal wear and tear, no it will not. If their budding Picasso has used the living room wall as a canvas, then yes it will. Also at move-out tenants, at minimum, will need to make sure that the kitchen (including appliances, counter tops, cabinets) and bathrooms are cleaned, that you have swept and mopped floors, carpets are vacuumed, and that all trash has been removed from the property. If carpets are dirty, they will need to be cleaned. If walls have been painted, they may need to be returned to their original color. Doing these things will help us in returning a tenant's security deposit more quickly.

For more information on our property management services, or for a current list of our available homes for lease in Charlotte, Monroe, Waxhaw, Fort Mill, Harrisburg, or the surrounding areas, visit our site at http://cmrpropertymanagement.com .

Friday, January 29, 2010

Fluffy or Tiger or Fido, Oh My! (Allowing Pet)

When entering into a property management agreement with Carolinas Metro Realty, many owners struggle with the issue of allowing tenants to have pets. As someone who has pets, albeit outdoor ones, I can sympathize with their struggle. Fact of the matter is, we see very little damage caused by pets. Most tenants would no more allow their pet to damage a property than they would cause damage themselves. Although there are no guarantees, our screening of prospective tenants includes information from their prior landlords. High on the list of questions we ask the prior landlords pertains to pets.

Our rental contract with tenants requires a pet fee, determined by the number of pets. They key here is a pet FEE, not a pet deposit. The fee is non-refundable, even if there are no damages caused by the pet. Additionally, the tenant's security deposit could be used to cover the cost to repair damages, if any.

It is important for owners to realize that, by not allowing pets, we are immediately reducing the number of prospective tenants by at least 50%. i always advise owners that are hesitant to allow pets to make pets conditional, meaning that they can look at each individual situation and make a decision accordingly.

For more information on our property management services for Charlotte, Waxhaw, Fort Mill, Monroe, or other towns in the Charlotte area, or to view rental properties currently available in these areas, please visit our website, http://cmrpropertymanagement.com .

Friday, January 22, 2010

CO Detectors

To insure compliance with N.C. Gen Stat § 42-42 to 42-44 (see below) and avoid serious implications to non-compliant owners, Carolinas Metro Realty will begin inspecting all properties under our management for the CO detectors. We appreciate the cooperation of both owners and tenants in making sure that all homes are in compliance with this Statute.

N.C. Gen Stat. § 42-42 to 42-44 - Landlord and Tenant Articles - Residential Rental Agreements Requires landlords to provide one operable carbon monoxide detector per rental unit per level. A landlord that installs one carbon monoxide detector per rental unit per level shall be deemed to be in compliance with standards under this subdivision covering the location and number of detectors. The landlord shall replace or repair the carbon monoxide detectors within 15 days of receipt of notification if the landlord is notified of needed replacement or repairs in writing by the tenant. The landlord shall ensure that a carbon monoxide detector is operable and in good repair at the beginning of each tenancy. Unless the landlord and the tenant shall have a written agreement to the contrary, the landlord shall place new batteries in a battery operated carbon monoxide detector at the beginning of a tenancy, and the tenant shall replace the batteries as needed during the tenancy. Failure of the tenant to replace the batteries as needed shall not be considered as negligence on the part of the tenant or the landlord. This subdivision applies only to dwelling units having a fossil-fuel burning heater or appliance, fireplace, or an attached garage. Provides for penalties.

For more information on our property management services, or for a list of our current available properties, please visit our site at http://cmrpropertymanagement.com

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Property Management Services Are Customizable

Owners have different needs in terms of the level of property management service they require. Most are looking for full service, which means that Carolinas Metro Realty, as their property management company, handle all aspects of dealing with the property, from finding a tenant, collecting rents, to directing all maintenance issues. This is an invaluable service for owners that are across the country, or in many cases, on the other side of the earth, as well as for those that are just too busy to deal with these issues any more. While we keep owners informed regarding their property, the day to day headaches are ours.

Another level of service we provide is merely finding the owner a tenant, screening applicants, entering into the lease agreement, and collecting initial money. In this case, once a tenant is in the property, the owner collects rents, directs maintenance, and handles all aspects of the property. Our efforts to find a tenant for these owners are exactly the same, in every way, as it is for those where we provide full property management services.

Somewhere in the middle is the owner that wants full property management service, but wants to be more involved in resolving maintenance issues. Many ask if we can use their maintenance person for issues that arise, and the answer is, absolutely! Because most owners have at one time lived in the homes we manage, they may have a "go to" guy for maintenance issues. We can, and do, continue to use these repairmen for maintenance. We also have owners, because they are still living in the area, that want to handle all maintenance issues themselves. This is perfectly acceptable. Keep in mind, however, that because we have both an in house maintenance person, and contractors we work with a great deal, in most cases we are able to have a repair made for less than an owner would pay for the same repair themselves.

Whatever your property management needs, give us a call at 704-405-0634, or visit us online at http://cmrpropertymanagement.com/ for more information.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

What Makes a Great Rental Property?

As a Real Estate professional concentrating on property management, I have the opportunity to see properties in all sorts of condition. Most owners understand that first impressions are everything, but many, for various reasons, fail to assign the proper value to putting a property's best foot forward.

In order for an owner's property to receive a prospective tenant's attention, it is extremely important that it appear "move in" ready. While a fresh coat of paint is great, many properties only need a touch up. "Move in" ready also means clean carpets and other flooring surfaces, making a great impact for very little money.

At the risk of stating the obvious, clean cupboards, counter tops, appliances, and light fixtures in the kitchen make a huge difference to prospective tenants. This creates a clean slate, so to speak, allowing the prospective tenant to envision themselves preparing a meal or entertaining friends there.

In the bathrooms, cleanliness is of paramount importance. Think "yuck", and you get the idea. Get rid of hard water stains in the toilet bowl and tub inexpensively by using a pumice stone especially designed for that use. Available in the cleaning aisle of your grocery store for under $5, this is a great way to make the bathrooms sparkle.

Don't overlook light fixtures, corners of rooms, baseboards, window ledges, and other mouldings when preparing your house for lease. A quick dusting of these areas is a great idea to help pump up your property's "WOW" factor.

If you are interested in our property management services, visit our website at http://cmrpropertymanagement.com for more information.