Nancy Braun, owner of Carolina Property Management and real estate brokerage Showcase Realty LLC in Charlotte, NC, shares with WCNC-NBC’s Charlotte Today hosts Colleen Odegaard and Eugene Robinson why it’s important for a property owner of a rental property to consider hiring a property management company. She covers four main points — vacancy, rental laws, maintenance, and the security deposit.
Property owners invest in rental properties for many reasons. Some seek to build out their wealth portfolios hoping for a maximum Return On Investment (ROI). Others want to leave a legacy to their children. Some investors are philanthropists, like the community-conscious who invest to improve living conditions in their communities. People relocating away from NC or SC for job or life changes might choose to hold on to their home, and rent it out to it generate an income. No matter their reasons, many property owners choose to handle their rentals on their own if they’re located in the area. They search for tenants online, usually download a lease template from the Internet, put the security deposit(s) in their bank accounts, and hope for the best. The risks in these scenarios are vast, causing what started out as an investment goal for additional income to become a costly endeavor.
Odegaard asked Braun if a vacant property was one of the primary reasons why a homeowner should consider hiring a property management company. Braun explained that it was one of the top reasons, and that is why she and her team at Carolina Property Management have thousands of qualified tenants in their database — typically enabling them to lease out client properties within 15 days, and to continue to keep them occupied so the owner does not lose out on income. She also explained that filling vacancies is not the only role that they play since there are many preliminary, on-going, and round robin requirements every rental requires.
As a regulated industry with strict housing laws in place that serve both tenants and landlords, Property Management is very much like buying or selling a house — where trained professional expertise is essential, and a smart choice for landlords. Braun, who holds the Five Star Property Management Certification and is a member of the National Association or Residential Property Managers (NARPM), is also a REALTOR® and lawyer. She explains that landlords are bound by these laws but don’t always know their nuances, “We’re all under the same guidelines. We have to abide by fair housing laws concerning discrimination, the American Disabilities Act (ADA), and so on. Many people don’t know, for instance, that if the home for rent does not allow pets and an applicant states that they have a service dog, they could be in violation of the ADA if they reject that candidate based on that detail — as it’s discriminatory. Also discriminatory, is if landlord asks a prospective tenant how many children they have or how old they are. It’s a simple thing, but still a discrimination. ”
Certified property managers at Carolina Property Management are experts at ensuring they protect their clients interests, including handling the Landlord’s trust accounts for tenant deposits. Braun explains why this is a critical detail for the correct management of tenant deposits, “Most people not in the industry, don’t realize that the security deposit must be put in a trust account. If it’s not in a trust account, the Landlord might have to forfeit it if the tenant didn’t pay rent or caused damage. The tenant could ask for evidence that the deposit was held in a trust account, and if it wasn’t, the judge will rule in favor of the tenant.”
Ongoing maintenance of the property is another important service where property owners can benefit from using a property management company. Aside from the convenience for landlords to have a maintenance crew on call 24/7, Braun added, “At Carolina Property Management we use professional service providers that give us competitive bids because of the sheer volume of business we send them — which cuts down costs for the landlord. We’re at the top of the list for service response time, which makes our clients and their tenants happy.”
Apart from emergency maintenance issues, Braun’s team hold very high standards in ongoing maintenance, “We pay very close attention to the state of the property to ensure that it is always in top condition. If overlooked, they could cost the homeowner more money. For example, the roof might need to be replaced; or if the paint is peeling we take care of it immediately so that it does not lead to wood rot. We ensure that all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are always functional, we monitor the filters… there are a lot of minor details that a homeowner might not think about.”
Another aspect to maintaining the property is when preparing to put it on the market for rent. Braun states that just like a home sale, if a property is showing beautifully, the owner can expect a better quality tenant — who will also continue to maintain the home because they recognize the owners standards. “I have a tenant moving in at one of my properties, I have deep cleaning going on right now, landscaping — pine needles being put out, tree limbs being trimmed… so that way, when I start out fresh, that tenant’s going to feel that this is a great home, I’m going to maintain it and take care of it because obviously the owner does too.”
Braun also discussed how she works with homeowners who don’t live in the same city or State as their investment properties. The online component for homeowner and tenants is Carolina Property Management’s state-of-the-art technology. Tenants can go online to fill out maintenance requests and even make their payments. Property owners can log in to access reports, updates, and accountabilities to monitor what is going on at any given time with their properties — from costs to repairs — information that they can share with their accountants for tax purposes. The other benefit to out-of-town or relocated homeowners is the local market knowledge Braun can offer, she explains, “A client who lives in California but who owns a property in Charlotte might not know what our rental rates are. They might be shooting in the dark and rent out the property for $1,000. Well I might be able to get $1,500 because I have the data and the stats. I know neighborhoods, areas — I know what tenants in my market want — making this a huge benefit for the property owner.”
Visit NancyHasTheTenants.com to get your FREE copy of Nancy Braun’s 5 Ways To Get Top Dollar on Your Rental Property.
If you’re interested in an investment property and want guidance on how to buy or sell your home right now, download Nancy’s FREE book, The No Holds Barred guide To Buying and Selling A Home in the Carolinas, visit: ExpertHomeHelp.com
About Nancy Braun:
A lawyer and entrepreneur, Nancy Braun is a certified property manager and runs a team of experts at Carolina Property Management LLC (a subsidiary of Showcase Realty — www.ShowcaseRealty.net) . Braun has been in the real estate industry for more than 23 years. An award-winning real estate agent, Braun has sold thousands of homes in the Carolinas -- assisting home sellers sell for top dollar, and home buyers realize the American dream of home ownership. She often offers her expertise to real estate audiences through TV appearances, podcasts, articles, blogs and more.
About Carolina Property Management:
Carolina Property Management LLC in Charlotte, serves property owners in North Carolina and South Carolina with their property management needs. The company is known for its unique management system and top-of-the-line technology for property owners and tenants to have a hassle-free experience with professionalism, efficiency and ease. Visit www.CarolinasPropertyManagement.com for more information.