Basic Maintenance

Charlotte Properties
There are many things that can be done to help prevent trouble for both you and your tenants. If you are the landlord of a rental property, you want to present yourself as someone who is caring and has their tenant's safety at heart. Although there is no way a single person can think of everything, there are some simple things that you can do to make your tenant feel more at ease.
One of the first things you can do is so simple, many renters forget it: install and check smoke detectors. Make sure that you put smoke detectors the building according to your local fire department's suggestions. If the building already has smoke detectors in it, make sure to test them every month. If you have new tenants moving in, replace the batteries and test the detectors before they settle down in the building. Encourage them to test them when they change their clocks for daylight savings time.
Another simple thing that you can do is to supply a couple of fire extinguishers for your rental property. Although these are a little more expensive than other items on this list, they will still only run you an average of $40 to $50 which is a small price to pay for safety. Simply check to make sure the pressure gauge is in the green and there are no breaks or cracks in the hose to be sure that it is functional. Often, landlords will put one in the kitchen and one at the other end of the apartment, perhaps in a closet.
Another thing that you can do before a tenant moves in is purchase and install a carbon monoxide detector. Although carbon monoxide is less common, it still accounts for an average of 430 unintentional deaths annually in this country alone. Since carbon monoxide is colorless and odorless, it is likely to go unnoticed unless there is a detector in the building. They cost around $20 to $25 on average and may also be mandated by your town. There are even some that are smoke detectors at the same time.
These are only a couple of ideas, but they are some of the easiest and quickest to do in order to keep your residents safe. Make sure that everything is functional before they move in, though.

Pet Policies

Charlotte Properties
If there is one bit of truth that I can write to you today, it is that Americans love their pets. For many people, myself included, pets are family members no matter what anyone else says. Although my current apartment does not allow pets, I would not want to move anywhere else with a no animal policy. I also know that I am not alone in this. I was speaking to a woman recently who stated that she would rather be homeless than have to give up her dog and this is not an abnormal attitude. So where does that leave you as a rental property owner? Well, it certainly isn't a simple decision.
The good thing for you is that you have options. You may put your foot down and say no pets what so ever. Other landlords say that they will allow pets as long as they are under a certain size. Some landlords will only allow fish or small lizards but nothing with fur or that will get out of a cage. I saw a listing recently that would allow any animal as long as it fit in a bag that you could carry. While I am sure that some people will take advantage of that to allow animals through that the poster did not intend, it is certainly an interesting way of putting the pet policy. At the end of the day, you do have the final decision but how should you prepare to make it?
One of the most important things to think about is the type of flooring that you have in your apartment. Many landlords will not allow animals with fur if they have carpet in their property. While some people may think this is ridiculous, they will still have to respect your decision. Hard wood flooring is a bit more forgiving with some things than carpet, but this can also be said of human residents as well. This is especially true if the humans have a baby.
At the end of the day, you get to make the decision about having a pet in your apartment. Think to yourself though, if you are a pet owner, whether or not you would want to be somewhere without your cat or dog or snake or whatever it is you own. I think that is the best way to make your decision.


Talley Properties
With all of the coverage on the news and the computer, I am sure by now that you have heard of the devastation that Harvey and Irma brought. While places like North Carolina do not often get hit directly with these severe storms, there was a point in time that some models thought Irma would do just that. With Jose and Katia coming in right behind Irma, it is always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to the well-being of your rental property and those who live in there.
One of the first things that I will suggest to you is making sure that you have storm grade windows in your apartments. If winds are severe enough, or trees nearby are dead, you run a high risk of having at least one window broken. While this can happen no matter what level of thickness your windows are, it is always better to have storm windows in. These seal better and are sturdier than normal windows and you will want all of the protection you have.
Making sure that your tenant has renters insurance that covers flood damage is something that is imperative. Even if you are not in a place that normally floods, you never know what can happen when Mother Nature decides to hit. Having protection yourself against flooding or downed trees is something that you should double check with your insurance agent. Many things are not covered in basic coverage packages, but it is well worth the extra money to make sure that you are fully protected against whatever may be thrown at you.
Having your tenants figure out an emergency plan is another thing that is certainly worth the time it will take. This way, they will be able to alert you if something goes wrong. One issue many people in Texas are having is the fact that the tenants and landlords did not effectively communicate through the issues before or after the storm hit.
The final thing that we want to remind you of in regards to hurricanes is that your tenants are human the same as you. If something happens, they have also lost their living space. The main thing is that you band together in order to help each other through the destruction. We hope you won't need to worry about any of these things, but you simply never know what will happen next.

Ways to Set Your Listing Apart Part II

Charlotte Properties
If you have not yet read the first part of this two part article, we highly suggest that you do. Trying to get the attention of your prospective tenants is the most important thing that you can attempt when it comes to having a rental property. In the previous part, we mentioned two of the more important but more obvious ways to catch the eye of people when they are scrolling through the listings online. Here are a couple more that may not be as normal, but after all isn't that the point?
1. Offer A Bonus. This can mean any number of things, so don't get too worried just yet. Some people offer a month of rent free if their resident pays the rest of the year on time, which is always something that will grab the attention of someone reading. That free keyword is something that will catch anyone's eye, but it doesn't have to be a month of rent. As I was scrolling through listings earlier for myself, I found one which was offering a free bike with a lease signing. Sometimes you will see ones that offer free pieces of furniture and although most people will know that it's just something the owner doesn't want to move, it is still a deal. See what you have and make it work for you.
2. Renovations. Even if you haven't recently redone the entire property, you can still mention small things that have been done. If you have recently replaced all of the screens in the apartment, then mention that! Perhaps you just put new blinds in. These are cheap but people will still love to see that word "new". It doesn't have to be something fancy to catch the eye of those who are looking through these listings, you just need to know what keywords to use. Mentioning newer features and renovations is one of those things.
Although this is a relatively short list between the two articles, it really can make all of the difference in the world for what you are trying to do. Apartment listings can run together after a while and you need to have something that can set yours apart from the rest. Try using some of these ideas and see just how much quicker you have a response that interests you.

Ways to Set Your Listing Apart

Charlotte Properties
One of the main things that you are striving to do when you put your apartment listing up is to attract the attention of someone before another rental property does. While some of this has to do with luck and timing, some of it has to do with how you write up the listing as well as what is offered with the apartment. Sometimes this can be as simple as the amenities that are available (such as a pool or on site laundry), but other times you may be able to spice up your listing. Here are a few ways that this can be done effectively.
1. Be Enthusiastic. This is hands down the best way to get someone's attention with a written posting. If you seem enthusiastic about your property, they will be too. This is done in many ways, but we suggest not relying strictly on the caps lock button. If you gush about how wonderful the property is, then you will likely attract more attention for yourself than if you just stated the facts in a cold and boring manner.
2. Pictures, Pictures, Pictures! Nothing is more upsetting to most people checking apartment listings online than finding something that sounds perfect but having no pictures to back up that assumption. It doesn't matter how well you have the information written up or how many amenities you have listed, without pictures for proof and a way to get an idea of the look and layout of the apartment, you automatically will not get as many hits as even some of the worst listings that do have them. Make sure that you have some pictures that are clear and well-lit before you post anything online.
These are only a couple of ways that you can make sure that your listing is set apart, and if you don't see something that you haven't done yet then don't worry! This will be a two part article listing so that you can get a couple more ideas of what to do in order to catch the attention of that perfect tenant that you and your rental apartment are just waiting for. If you have a method that you have found to work better than any others, let us know and maybe we can help to pass that on to others to help them as well!

After a Disaster

Charlotte Properties
No matter how much we work to prevent them, disaster can strike anywhere at any time. This means that we need to be prepared to try and stop them as well as have a plan in place for what we can do if they happen. Here are a couple of ideas of where to start in your plan in case disaster strikes.
1. Insurance Claims. Just about the first thing you should do once you know everyone is safe is call your insurance company. You need to file a claim as soon as possible so they can get you the money you will need to get everything back to normal. This should always be one of the first things that you do after disaster strikes.
2. Carpets. If you have carpets in your rental property, you may want to consider ripping them out and replacing them. This is true whether you had a fire or a flood. In the case of a fire, it is the easiest way to get the rest of the soot and dirt out. In the case of a flood, it is the best way to make sure mold doesn't start to grow in your floors. Even if you think the carpets have dried, you may still develop mold down the road, so think about this one carefully.
3. Take Some Time. You may need to take some time to process everything. If this is a possibility, then do so. There is nothing wrong with taking a little bit of time to get everything in order before you start to rebuild.
4. Remodel. Depending on how severe the damage was, you may have to rebuild parts of your property anyway. This is a perfect reason to do any remodeling work that you may have been tossing around. Redo that bathroom you had been looking at, knock out that odd wall in the basement, get a new color of paint. It makes more sense to do it now as opposed to redoing exactly what you had and changing things around later.
While things like floods and fires are life changing and may cause an extreme amount of damage, they don't have to be considered all bad. As long as everyone make it out okay, most things can be replaced. Remember to try and look at the positive side of things and work towards making everything better than it was before.

How to Prevent a Flood

Charlotte Properties
The spring and summer normally brings quite a bit of rain. While this is normally good for plants and lowered river levels, too much rain can be a problem as well. Even if you are not in a flood zone, getting large amounts of rain can be an issue for your property. Here are a few tips that you can use to help prevent damage to your rental property due to flooding.
1. Clear Storm Drains. If you have any storm drains on or near your property, make sure that they are nice and clear of any debris such as leaves or twigs or rocks. This is your first line of defense against rising water, so you want to do all you can to help it do its job. If you know a large storm is coming, walk around and make sure that all of these are clean so the water can be funneled out from your area.
2. Keep A List. Tell your residents to keep a list of anything important and the price these things cost. This will help in the event of an insurance claim. You should keep a list of everyone living in your rental property and their phone numbers so that you can get a hold of them and make sure they are okay as well.
3. Keep Supplies. Both you and your residents should keep certain supplies in case the flooding gets severe. This should include drinking water, non-perishable food, flashlights, and a battery powered radio. You should also make sure to have a first aid kit on hand just in case someone does get hurt.
4. Gutters and Ditches. If you can, make sure that the gutters are clean before a storm. This will help to prevent localized flooding and leaks. Also, some people dig small ditches where they know it floods in an attempt to drain the water back into the ground and away from the building.
Flooding is never a fun thing to have to deal with. It can be rather frightening and can change your life if severe enough. With these tips, though, you may just be able to help lessen any damage that may be done by the onslaught of water from the sky. Remember to keep an eye on the weather so these things don't take you by surprise!

Having Your Tenant on a Short Lease

Charlotte Properties
For some people, a long term lease is not something that they can really commit to. There may be many different reasons for this and not all of them are bad. I remember I had a friend back in grade school whose father moved for work every two years or so. I met her in Pennsylvania and before we lost contact she had moved from there to Texas, then to Georgia, and then to Colorado and away again within five or six years. They always had nice townhomes in developments, but the constant relocation meant they never knew how long they would be in one place. For example, she stayed in Colorado for less than seven months while she was in Georgia for three years. A situation like this is exactly why it would be nearly impossible for her family to have entered into a set lease, as they never knew when they would be moved again.
While short leases aren't normally a great trade for you as a landlord, sometimes it can be difficult for a tenant to find what they need in a world of yearlong leases. With situations like these, it can sometimes pay to be a little flexible with the length of your leases. I can only imagine that they used to have a month to month lease when they moved into a new place, as it would have been impossible for him to figure out when he would be relocated again. Granted I knew them, but in a case like his I can't imagine why a landlord wouldn't have been okay with having a shorter lease. They were certainly a great family and always had a great time together, wherever they were. Sometimes you just need to follow the work, whatever that work may be.
Getting a call from a tenant like this may be stressful, but it isn't something to run away from if you can confirm that they need a shorter lease for something like work. Certainly having them list previous landlords will help to assure you that they will always come through with the rent, but we can also understand a concern or two on your end. This would come down to being your call, but we say you shouldn't count someone out just because they need a shorter lease.

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