Boomtown: Why Charlotte is One of the Fastest Growing Cities in America

Boomtown: Why Charlotte is One of the Fastest Growing Cities in America

Charlotte, also known as the Queen City, is growing and expanding at a rapid pace. People flock to the city and its surrounding suburbs to settle down, find jobs, and take part in everything the area has to offer. And Charlotte has plenty. From job positions in prominent international businesses to world-class cultural and culinary offerings, there’s no shortage of opportunities in the Queen City. But is there more to it? Let’s take a look at some of the reasons behind Charlotte’s staggering growth.

First, and perhaps most importantly for many people, is Charlotte’s relatively low cost of living. Experts have declared Charlotte to be 5-10% cheaper than the national average in any given year. This number includes factors such as housing, rent, utilities, and groceries. For those looking for a way to save money and spend less without sacrificing quality of living, the Queen City is an obvious choice.

Second, Charlotte is known as a center for banking and financial investments. In fact, it’s the largest and most successful in the entire nation, behind only New York. Not only does this stimulate the economy, but the constant growth of such prominent firms means an increase in jobs. Charlotte is responsible for creating almost 20,000 jobs in the second quarter of 2022 alone.

Third, the constant influx of people means that the Queen City is always expanding to accommodate the growing numbers. Charlotte has often been referred to as many smaller cities within one large whole. The various districts spread around and through the city center are under constant construction and revitalization. With construction comes additional architecture, cultural activities, and city life to explore. This attracts even more people, leading to more construction and expansion. It’s a positive feedback loop that has led to exponential growth in the past several years.

Finally, Charlotte is situated in a perfect geographical location. The fair weather has attracted many people who are tired of harsh winters and excruciating summers. Charlotte has been called a four-seasons city, meaning that its weather is relatively mild all year round. For those who love the outdoors and enjoy exploring a city on foot, this is the place for you!

The Queen City has experienced tremendous growth, and it doesn’t look to be slowing any time soon. If you’re looking to move to the area, there’s never been a better time to get on board. Start your search today! For more information and tips, follow the Talley Properties blog.

How to Clean and Protect your Pool During Winter

How to Clean and Protect Your Pool

Backyard swimming pools are a great way to beat the intense summer heat, and are assets of rental properties that increase value. However, as the weather turns chilly and the days get shorter, the pool sits empty and it’s time to do some winter maintenance. As a property owner, you must understand how and when to begin cleaning and protecting your investment from the harsh winter weather. This will ensure that your swimming pool is kept up well into the future. Here are a few tips and tricks to keep in mind during winter.

  • Clean the Pool. Whether it’s an automatic underwater vacuum or a manual water skimmer, make sure that your pool is free of debris. Leaves, sticks, and bugs will clutter the surface over time. Before closing up for the winter, be sure that the water is sparkling clean. The clearer the water, the quicker you’ll be able to use your pool when the weather warms up again.
  • Use a Pool Cover. Investing in a quality cover will ensure that your swimming pool is protected from animals, debris, and harsh weather conditions. Periodically throughout the winter, you may need to go outside and tidy up a bit. Leaves, twigs, and other debris can get caught in the middle. Use a vacuum to get rid of unsightly messes that accumulate on the cover. If you live in an area with lots of snow or rain, be sure to stay on top of the weather. The risk of freezing precipitation tearing the cover can sneak up on property owners if they’re not careful.
  • Maintenance & Chemistry. Although your pool will be covered for the winter, it may still be exposed to temperatures below freezing. It’s vital to maintain a correct chemical balance in the water to discourage freezing. Furthermore, the sophisticated pumps and machinery that keep your pool running in tip-top condition need to be monitored every other month. Ask your pool maintenance technician how best to care for the machinery and what products to use in and around your pool.

Talley Properties is dedicated to making sure you get the most out of your rental property and its amenities. Take good care of your property, and you will enjoy it's returns for many years to come. Follow the Talley Properties blog for more tips, tricks, and advice.

Protecting Your Rental Property from Sudden Temperature Drops

Protecting Your Rental Property from Sudden Temperature Drops

Late winter is in full swing, and temperatures are becoming more sparatic. When these temperatures get below freezing and properties are subject to more severe weather and precipitation, there are certain steps to take ahead of time to prepare for these harsh conditions. Talley Properties is here to guide rental property owners through the process of protecting their property and tenants from the cold. Read on for some valuable tips and tricks as you begin winter-proofing.

  • Seal the Edges of Openings. Windows and outside doors are particularly susceptible to drafts. It’s highly unlikely that the seal around the edges of these openings is entirely weatherproof. As winter approaches and the weather grows cold, go around your home with a fine-tooth comb and seal any gaps or cracks that may have appeared along the edges. Not only will this keep the heat inside in the winter, but it will keep the cool air inside in the summer.
  • Add Insulation. Insulation is crucial for regulating the temperature of your home. From drafty spaces like the attic to fragile parts like the water pipes, there are plenty of ways to shut out the cold. Once the temperature drops in one part of your house, it’s much more likely that the cold will spread to other rooms and floors. Save money on heating by investing in quality insulation.
  • Clean the Gutters. Gutters have a tendency to become clogged with leaves, dirt, and other gunk. Before the temperature dips below freezing, ensure that your gutters are clear of anything that may inhibit the flow of water. Otherwise, you may find icicles forming on your roofline.
  • Let the Water Flow. Stagnant water freezes much easier than water that is allowed to keep moving. To prevent frozen water and busted pipes, allow your faucets a slow drip. This will keep the water moving and flowing through the pipes.
  • Consult a Professional. Occasionally, it’s best to let the professionals handle matters. Consider consulting someone who will perform an evaluation of your home. The result will show you how energy efficient your house is and what you can do to improve your rating.

Stay safe this winter, and protect your property from the bitter weather. It could save you time and money in the long run! Stay up to date on Talley Properties blog for more tips and valuable insight, and get in touch to see how we can take care of your rental property.

NC Entry Rights for Rental Properties

Roommates

Entry rights can be a tricky topic. For the most part, paying tenants should be entitled to privacy, security, and a quiet place to make a living. There are times, however, when the landlord will have to exercise their right to enter the living space. After all, they own the property and everything on it. This does NOT mean that a landlord can come crashing through the door unannounced, any time of day, on any day of the week. There are laws in place that protect both parties, but each side has a few caveats and conditions. Let’s go over some of these laws now.

First, it’s important to note that we will be discussing the laws in North Carolina. Each state has set its own precedent, and the regulations may differ from state to state. If you’re outside of NC, be sure to double-check your local laws. Generally speaking, if your state does not have any statutes in place explicitly protecting the privacy of tenants, then it can be negotiated into the rental agreement paperwork. With that in mind, let’s look at some of the reasons a landlord might be permitted to enter a tenant’s private space:

  1. Emergency Situations. Whether it’s a fire or a flood or a medical emergency, I’m sure we can all agree that these types of situations effectively nullify most agreements or regulations in place. Circumstances play a major role in entry laws. If lives are in immediate danger, swift action must be taken and the landlord may enter the living space to assist as needed.
  2. Maintenance Operations. With proper notice, a tenant will be asked to allow the landlord to perform regular inspections on the property. During this time, the landlord will have free rein as they thoroughly check the living space, appliances, utilities, and overall structural integrity.
  3. Potential Tenant Walkthrough. If a tenant is moving out, then the landlord may want to show the space to potential future clients, even while the current tenant is still living there. This is perfectly legal and acceptable as long as the landlord gives notice and receives permission from the tenant.
  4. Although not a common occurrence, a landlord may have reason to believe that the space has been abandoned. Under these unusual circumstances, the landlord would be permitted entry to evaluate, clean, and prepare the space for re-leasing.

Many state laws also stipulate that landlords may only request entry during “reasonable hours.” This typically signifies normal business hours, and weekends are left to the digression of the tenant. Laws and regulations aside, both parties should communicate their needs clearly and treat one another with dignity and respect. That’s all there is to it!

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When is a Rental Property Uninhabitable?

Roommates

As the landlord of a rental property, it is your duty to provide a safe and comfortable living space for your tenants. What your tenants do with the interior is up to them (as long as it abides by the terms of the contract). But your responsibility lies in the structural integrity of the building itself: Is it up to code? Are the utilities functioning in a safe and non-lethal way? Are there any hazardous substances present in the building? These are the types of questions you should be asking yourself before, during, and after a tenant moves in. Otherwise, your space may be deemed “uninhabitable” and you could find yourself caught up in a tangle of legal red tape.

So, let’s dive into the basics: What exactly makes a space “uninhabitable,” whether by law or common decency? Well, let’s take a look at some examples.

  • Building Codes. There are certain laws that dictate how large a space must be and what features must be present to be considered livable: windows, doors, fire exits, etc. But beyond architectural standards, the landlord must also maintain the integrity of the building. A living space may be deemed unsafe if the walls are in bad condition, the floors are overloaded with weight, there is rot or decay that threatens the structural integrity, or the electrical wiring or heating systems are faulty. Any of these issues could pose a threat to potential occupants and would render the space uninhabitable.
  • Appliances & Utilities. Faulty wiring and malfunctioning appliances can lead to an uninhabitable space. Not only are the occupants at risk of a potential electrical fire, but appliances and utilities can be dangerous when they cease to function at all. Consider the plumbing, which carries water to the kitchen and bathroom. Consider electricity, which powers our kitchen appliances and safety monitors. Without these, a living space is very much uninhabitable.
  • Health Hazards. Last, but certainly not least, landlords must complete a thorough evaluation of their home for any outbreaks or infestations. Mold, mildew, pests, and even water damage can have adverse health effects on any occupants. The health and safety of your tenants must be top priority, so it’s important that you have this done by a professional. If you do have one of the issues listed above, your space will be considered uninhabitable until it is resolved.

These may seem like basic necessities, and that’s true. Every landlord should strive to make their space as safe and comfortable as possible. But this isn’t a fix-it-and-forget-it situation. Maintenance is an ongoing job, one that will continue throughout a tenant’s residency. Be sure that you are keeping up with the needs of your tenant and conducting regular inspections to ensure their health and safety at all times!

Which Property Management Fees are Tax-Deductible?

Property Management Fees

As a landlord, you operate and maintain numerous properties for commercial profit. This makes you a small-business owner according to the law. As such, you will be required to file taxes associated with the income of your business. Fortunately, there are several tax-deductible expenses that you are likely to come across during your time as a landlord. To save you from paying a higher annual fee than you have to, let’s take a look at some maintenance and travel expenses that come with a tax break.

  1.  Repairs. While the landlord is typically held responsible for fixing anything that’s broken or operating incorrectly, the good news is that you’re entitled to a tax deduction for the cost of repairs.
  2. Maintenance. Maintenance is different from repairs in that the goal is to avoid the expense of repairs as much as possible. This includes safety inspections, updating appliances and amenities, and landscaping.
  3. Utilities. Paying for the electricity and water in your own home is one thing, but paying for these same utilities in a rental property is another thing entirely. Oftentimes, tenant rental fees will at least partially offset the cost of utilities. But the added bonus of a tax deduction makes your business much more lucrative.
  4. Travel. Now, this doesn’t mean a discounted vacation to just anywhere in the country or the world at large. But a landlord will occasionally need to make a trip to check in on their properties and their tenants. Whether traveling nearby or halfway across the country, these trips cost money, and the costs can add up very quickly.
  5. Insurance. Once again, this applies specifically to the insurance plans tangential to your rental property or properties. Most landlords take out coverage for natural disasters (flood, fire, etc.) and loss (burglary, theft, etc.) While these insurance plans can be expensive, they can bring significant peace of mind, and a tax deduction will lower the cost considerably.
  6. Legal Fees. This is particularly useful if you should ever be forced to hire an attorney. For example, you may need to evict a tenant on legal grounds, and an attorney can offer valuable advice. Fortunately, the expense is offset by tax a tax break.

When considering all the costs that go into owning and managing property, it may seem overwhelming. Surely your wallet can’t handle the financial strain? But luckily, as a small business owner, you are entitled to several tax deductions. Begin with the list above and research ways to save money when it comes to everyday expenses.

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How to Earn Equity on your Rental Property

Equity on your Rental Property

For those of you who have bought your own home, you know that owning and managing one property is difficult enough. But landlords have to keep up with multiple properties, sometimes spread across vast geographical distances. In practice, rental properties aren’t so different from a typical single-family residence or condo. A landlord must maintain the property and its structures, they must pay monthly utility bills to receive water and electricity, and they must pay a mortgage to build their equity in the property. It’s a full-time job all on its own.

Let’s return to the topic of equity. This term is thrown around quite a bit in the world of real estate, but let’s define it here. Equity refers to the homeowner’s investment and ownership in a piece of property. This is directly linked to mortgage payments, which are designed to help the homeowner build more equity over time. So with multiple properties to manage, how do landlords earn equity on their rental properties?

As alluded to near the beginning of this article, it’s not so different or complicated as you might think. The important thing is to understand what factors directly influence equity and calculate every decision carefully. To begin, pay off your mortgage every month. This will automatically bring you closer to your goal. When you first invest in a property, consider making a larger down payment to solidify a significant portion of your equity right out of the gate. Then, consider a shorter term when it comes to mortgage payments. For example, rather than choosing the 30-year financing option, go for the 15-year investment plan. This will help you build equity faster. Finally, make extra payments if you are able. While the income from rental properties is often used to finance maintenance and repairs, set aside some funds to give yourself a head start.

Equity is calculated by subtracting the amount you currently owe in home loans from the current market value of your home. Naturally, as the appraisal value of homes increases, your equity will increase as well. This is why it’s crucial that you continue to make regular payments on your home and diminish your mortgage loans as consistently as possible. Begin by following the tips in this article, and hopefully you begin to see your property investments steadily increasing with each passing month.

For more tips and real estate advice, follow the Talley Properties blog.

What to Do If A Rental Check Bounces?

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One of the most difficult parts of managing a rental property is collecting rent each and every month. As a landlord, your income is entirely dependent on the reliability of your tenants. While most residents will be timely and responsible when it comes to paying rent, you may come across some people who are unreliable or downright uncooperative. Perhaps you have a tenant who is constantly asking for an extension or, even worse, someone who pays with a check that they can’t fulfill. What should you do in these situations? How do you handle a check that has been returned?

First things first, approach the tenant that gave you the check. More often than not, it is simply a mistake. Perhaps they had intended to transfer money to their account before issuing the check, or perhaps the bank is slow in processing their transfer request. Always assume the best before jumping to conclusions. If it was not a mistake, then the tenant cannot afford rent that month, and you must move forward according to the procedures outlined in your rental contract.

After you have cleared up any possibility of simple misunderstanding, you should officially notify the tenant that their check bounced. Depending on their track record and the terms of your agreement, you may issue a grace period of a set number of days. The tenant will have to produce the funds necessary to cover their rent, as well as any late fees that you may have accrued as a result of the inconvenience. Be sure to document all communication with the tenant so that the expectations are clear and there’s no room for misinterpretation.

For future payments, consider setting up an online collection program. Rent collection programs can be set up to make direct deposits from a linked debit or credit card to your own bank account. The transfer takes place automatically at the specified time every month. This way, you’ll always receive payments on time and you don’t have to hound your tenant for money.

So, to summarize, here’s what you should do if you receive a bounced check:

  1. Approach the tenant to see if it was a mistake.
  2. If not, issue an official notice and give them a set period of time to produce the funds.
  3. Record any communication with the tenant, including dates, times, and binding agreements.
  4. Consider online payments to protect the future of your business.

For more tips when it comes to real estate and rental properties, follow the Talley Properties blog.