Expectations of Homeowners when renting their property

Ok, so the idea of renting your home to complete strangers can be a bit scary, right? Especially if you’ve lived in this home, or maybe even raised your children here. There’s a total emotional connection. Think about all the blood, sweat and tears you’ve put into your home to make it yours, all of life’s milestones you’ve cherished there. Detaching yourself from the emotional connection is one of the hardest parts but in order to be successful, you’ve got to start thinking like an Investor. After all, you are one! In order to make this business venture work, there are steps you need to take to ensure you are getting the highest market rent possible for your property. This doesn’t mean moving all your belongings out and shutting the lights off. Your home is your most valuable asset, and maintenance is key. You know the old saying you get what you pay for? Well its pretty much the same in the property management business, the way you keep your home will reflect the kind of tenant it attracts. So now that you’ve decided you are ready to rent, its time to make your property rent ready! Here are some must-dos in order to get your maximum potential rental income and ideal tenant….

~ Check all fixtures and appliances are in working order, and replace any burnt out light bulbs
~ Have the carpets professionally dry cleaned
~ Have your AC unit and Hot water heater serviced
~ If the walls and paint have seen better days, a fresh coat can make all the difference
~ Hire a cleaning company to do a deep cleaning
~ Replace all air filters
~ Power wash the homes exterior
~ Get rid of ALL personal belongings/furniture. Chances are if its something you don’t want, tenants wont either
~ Remove all garbage and ensure the garage has been cleaned out
~ Return all cable boxes, modems, or leased equipment
~ Clean up the yard, weeds, and flowerbeds
~ Have a pest company spray for pests inside and out
~ If you don’t have window blinds, putting them up would be a good idea. That way you know the job is done right. Make sure there are no broken or missing blinds/vertical panels
~ Ripped screens in windows and doors could lead to unwanted pests. Rescreening is fairly inexpensive and will help alleviate future problems
~ Make sure you have working smoke detectors

Your ultimate goal is to retain your tenants, hopefully forever. The more you show you take pride in your property, the more likely your tenants will too. Being proactive and keeping up with issues will not only benefit you in the long run but will establish a positive, open line of communication between you and your tenant.

Written By: All County Southern Shores Property Management June 2018

3 Things to Know Before Signing a Rental Lease Agreement

Advice from Vernon, Tolland

Finding the perfect rental home is always exciting; you have a new place to make your own and call home. In all the excitement, planning, and relief, you will have to sign a lease, and this legal document is a crucial part of your tenancy. Take the time to read the contract carefully before signing, and keep the following things in mind.

3 Things to Know Before Signing a Lease

1. Know Your Rights & Responsibilities
Your lease outlines your rights and responsibilities as a tenant. Be sure to go over each of these items and understand what you are agreeing to. A lease can vary from one company to the next; some may use a basic template that plugs your name into the document, while others might have in-depth lease paperwork that accounts for every aspect of your tenancy. Regardless of the size and scope of the lease, read it through to know what is expected of you as a tenant, and ask questions or request clarification on any unclear areas before you sign.

2. Learn the Community Rules
Every rental community has rules that each tenant must adhere to. The lease will usually include these rules, and it’s your job to make sure you follow them. Skipping over these important guidelines could cause an issue. If you are unaware your building has quiet hours from 10:00 p.m. to 9:00 a.m. and you play loud music when your alarm goes off at 8:00 a.m., you are breaking the rules without knowing it. That could jeopardize your tenancy if your neighbors start complaining.

3. Understand Lease Renewal & Termination Procedures
Like any legal document, a lease aims to protect all parties who are covered by its terms. Every management company has unique procedures for renewing or terminating your tenancy, and these will be outlined in the lease. Learn the proper steps to renew your lease or vacate at the end of the term. You should also understand the ramifications of breaking the lease if an unexpected turn of events necessitates an early move-out. Having this information will safeguard your legal rights and ensure you are following all appropriate protocol.

3 Tips to Choose the Perfect Neighborhood for a Rental Property

3 Tips to Choose the Perfect Neighborhood for a Rental Property

Friendly neighbors, a convenient location, and maximum safety are just three of many important factors to consider as you search for the perfect neighborhood. Though rental fees may vary in different areas, comfort and peace of mind are invaluable. All County Southern Shores Property Management in Myrtle Beach, SC, can help you choose the best area for your lifestyle.
Here, they share three characteristics to look for as you begin your search:
• Location & Amenities: It is often the case that a property is only as good as its neighborhood, and location is key when it comes to practicality and your livelihood. Drive through potential areas, and look at maps to get a sense of where they are situated. Take note of whether they provide convenient access to grocery stores, restaurants, parks, schools, and other amenities you care about.

• Safety & Security: Your neighborhood should be a place of refuge, and you shouldn’t have to worry about break-ins, theft, and other criminal activities. Fortunately, the internet makes it easy to research crime statistics in just about any area of a city. You may also choose to contact local law enforcement to inquire about crime reports, neighborhood watch programs, and police patrolling in the vicinity.
• Cleanliness & Upkeep: You don’t want to live in an area that looks rundown and unkempt. As you make your way through prospective neighborhoods, take note of groomed lawns and landscaping, as well as smooth roads and sidewalks. You may be surprised by the extent to which a subdivision’s clean and kept-up appearance will increase your overall happiness and quality of life.
If you’re looking for the perfect neighborhood and rental, turn to the talented team at ALL COUNTY SOUTHERN SHORES PROPERTY MANAGEMENT. Call (843) 492-7255 today to speak with a helpful customer service representative about your needs.

5 Reasons You Should Allow Pets at Your Rental Property

One of the many important decisions required of a landlord is whether pets will be allowed on the rental property.

Creating a pet policy will either establish that pets are not allowed or establish clear rules about what types of animals are allowed, what fees are required of pet-owning tenants, and rules all pet-owners must follow during tenancy. Speak with your Property Manager about your pet policy and it should be included in the tenants lease agreement, even if you do not allow pets, the Property Manager should review this policy with the tenants during lease signing.

Pets cause damage, why would I allow my renters to have one? Great question! It turns out, there are several benefits for landlords who allow pets at their rental properties.

Here’s a look at the top 5 reasons landlords should create a pet-friendly policy for their rental properties.

Widen Your Tenant Pool

By allowing pets at a rental property, landlords have the opportunity to expand the number of potential tenants, increasing their odds in finding the best quality renters. More than 75% of renters own a furry friend, according to an Apartments.com survey. And the majority of these renters (60 %) claim to struggle when finding a pet-friendly rental. If you allow pets at your property, your listing will be the first pet-owners respond to.

Increase Renewals

Vacancy rates are decreasing nationwide, creating a highly competitive market for renters looking to move. Add to the fact, the scarcity of pet-friendly rentals and you have a property that your pet-owning tenant won’t want to let go of.

Tenant turnover and vacancy can quickly turn a profitable investment into a sinkhole. Pet-friendly properties will lower your vacancy rate and increase your renewals. In an analysis of landlord surveys by FIREPAW, Inc., tenants with pets were found to stay significantly longer, by an average of 23 months compared to 15 months.

Make More Money

Consider collecting a monthly pet fee when you accept pets at your property. This is different than a pet-deposit, which can only be used to repair damage caused by the pet. Instead of a pet deposit, landlords can ask their tenants to pay a monthly fee or pet-rent if they choose to keep a pet on your property. Pet fees are non-refundable and become income off of your investment. Even a $20 pet rent/month will add up to $240 in additional income each year.

A pet fee should be in addition to a pet-deposit – just make sure to check your local laws about how much, if at all, you are allowed to collect for a pet-deposit or pet fee.

Protect Your Property

When you allow pets on your property, your pet policy provides protections against pet damage in the way of a pet deposit, liability coverage through renter’s insurance, and established rules and expectations regarding pet behavior. If you do not allow pets at your property you run the risk of the tenants sneaking in an unauthorized pet. Unauthorized pets will cause damage and have the potential to hurt people on your property, all of which the property owner will be responsible for if the tenant leaves.

By allowing pets on your property under certain conditions outlined in the lease and pet policy you decrease the occurrences of unauthorized pets. Your Property Manager can ask the tenants to issue a pet deposit to cover property damage (if allowed by your state laws).

Additionally, when you collect a significant pet deposit from your tenants ($200+) they will be more likely to prevent pet damage because they have money on the line. If you simply collect a non-refundable pet fee, the tenants have no monetary incentive to prevent pet damage.

Improve Your Reputation

Pet-friendly properties gain the support of their community by creating pet policies that save animals’ lives. In an article by CNN, San Francisco animal welfare nonprofit SF SPCA states there’s been a surge in owners abandoning their pets due to an inability to find pet-friendly housing. Unfortunately, landlords are being blamed for these instances of animal abandonment as the reason for a lack of pet-friendly housing.

While it is up to every property owner to make their own decision as to the reason they want to allow pets or not, we have to pay attention to the positive effect a landlord can have in offering homes to pet-owning renters and their pets.

How Much Damage Do Pets Actually Cause

In the FIREPAW, Inc. study, 85% of landlords permitting pets reported having some amount of pet-related damage at some time. But in most cases, the cost of damage was covered by the required pet deposit and the homeowner experienced no real loss.

In reality, the data suggests there is little difference in damage between tenants with or without pets. In this FIREPAW, Inc. study, the biggest differences in damage from tenants with pets and those without was under $40, with an average for $323 in damage for tenants without pets and average of $362 for tenants with pets.

Ok pets don’t sound that bad, now what?

Having a clear pet policy, outlined in the lease agreement, will help minimize risk and establish clear expectations about acceptable animal behavior in your rental property. A good pet policy provides the foundation for charging more rent from all tenants, collecting a pet rent or an additional fee on top of the monthly rent, and asking for a pet deposit to cover any cleaning or damages.

With more potential applicants, it is even more important to screen tenants. Beyond a standard background and credit check for tenants, Property Managers can do additional screening for pet owners. Pet screening can include requiring applicants to submit references, vet records, obedience training certificates and proof of renters insurance with pet coverage.

Myrtle Beach Real Estate-Buying Investment Property

One of the best ways to invest your money right now is through purchasing real estate. With interest rates at a low and a plethora of vacation properties at the beach, many are finding themselves wanting to make an investment they can also enjoy! Its a great time to buy and at All County Southern Shores we can help guide you through the whole process. When buying an investment property there are many key factors you need to be aware of to make sure you are maximizing you profit such as:
-GRI – Gross Rental Income from previous years
-Rental Occupancy Rate- How much was it rented out previous years
-HOA and other fees- These fees vary from each property and can be a huge deciding factor on whether you will get a decent and profitable return
-LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION!- Is the property you are looking at near any attractions, the beach, or other places people vacation here for?

If this is something you are new at you will have many questions. Having a company guide you and have your best interests at heart is extremely important! From looking at properties to purchasing, closing and management we do it all! If you are looking into making a wise investment in the Myrtle Beach market call the experts at All County Southern Shores and see how we can make your second home your second income!