HURRICANE FLORENCE PREPARATIONS

Now is the time to prepare and we recommend that you make precautions now.

Please be aware that, because of the extent of damages; loss of electricity, phones and/or internet services; limited resources of our sub-contractors; and other calamities, we may not be able to help you as quickly this weekend as we would like. As was true following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, you may need to be more self-sufficient yourself and more reliant on your neighbors than usual. Here are a few tips ….

· Prepare an emergency kit
· Get some cash
· Inventory your prescription drugs
· Make plans for any pets
· Fill up your gas tank
· Secure and/or store all yard furniture & toys
· Extend downspouts so water is not dumped next to your home
· Clear nearby storm drains & small creeks
· Keep curb and gutters free of leaves, litter and debris
· Charge all electronics and then turn them off
· Gas pumps, ATMs, refrigerators, overhead lights, TVs, PCs and cellphone     chargers do not work without electricity
· Groceries, drug stores and gas stations may be closed
· Fallen power lines and wet electrical panels can kill you
· Roads may be blocked with fallen trees
· Never drive through flowing water
· Neighborhood block parties are a great way to share refrigerated food

Be Prepared. Be Safe.

T. R. LAWING REALTY INC
www.trlawing.com

Advantages of Living in North Carolina

Several cities in North Carolina, including Charlotte consistently receive high rankings on lists touting the best places to live in the United States. After all, what’s not to like about North Carolina? However, if you have never lived or visited the Charlotte metro area, you might be completely unaware of the advantages of living in North Carolina. Consider these four advantages of what living in the Charlotte, North Carolina area has to offer.
Milder Climate
Unlike some southern states, you will still experience all four seasons in North Carolina. The difference is that it is a milder climate with winters that are not normally frigid and snowy. On average, most of the state sees no more than four inches of snow a year. While the summers do get hot, you can escape to the beach or mountains that are only a couple hours’ drive from Charlotte.
Growing Population with a Booming Economy
The Charlotte area is one of the country’s fastest growing areas. It has seen an influx of new businesses, including exciting new startups. As the home to Bank of America and Wells Fargo, this area has been recognized as the second biggest banking hub in the country. Charlotte is recognized by Forbes in its annual rankings for best places for business and careers with its exciting job market.
Improved Quality of Life
With a lower cost of living, residents in North Carolina, especially in the Charlotte area can live comfortably and enjoy the advantages of both city and small-town living. The area is made up of many small neighborhoods that add to its charm. Getting around the city has been made easier with the expansion of its LYNX light rail system and the introduction of its B-Cycle bike sharing program.
Always Plenty to Do
Whether you enjoy the great outdoors, sports or the arts, one of the advantages of living in North Carolina is that there is always something to do. It is home to the Smokey Mountains National Park, beautiful beaches, the U.S. Whitewater Center, NASCAR races, and major sports teams. The Charlotte area is home to emerging and established artists and concert venues for entertainment. Living in North Carolina gives you access to plenty of things to do.

What’s New!

We’ve made adding your renters insurance certificate much easier!  Applicants will now be able to submit their insurance certificates online!  Once converted, this will be included in your lease detail and a unique link only for the named applicant will be sent via email.

Contact a Leasing Representative today for more information!

 

Benefits of Renting A Home

Buying a home is one of the biggest decisions you will make during your lifetime. While there are many advantages to purchasing your own home, it might not be the right decision for you at this time. Your current financial situation may not be compatible with purchasing a home. Or maybe you’re just not ready to settle down in one area for several years. This is where renting could be more desirable than purchasing a home at this time and why you should consider these benefits of renting a home.

Financial Benefits of Renting vs. Buying

If you are in the beginning of your career, you might not have enough money saved for a down payment to purchase a home. Your initial investment for renting a home is likely to be a security deposit and first and possible last months’ rent.
Renting a home usually costs less than buying a home. The amount you agree to pay each month when you sign your lease makes it easy to set a budget. When setting a budget, you can factor in saving money towards a down payment for purchasing a home in the future.

It costs less to insure your home when you rent. You are only required to insure the contents of your rental. When you purchase a home, you need to insure the entire structure. And if you do not pay at least a 20 percent down payment when buying a home, you are required to also purchase private mortgage insurance (PMI). This insurance could cost you between 0.3 to 1.5 percent of your original loan amount each year.

Flexibility of Renting Over Buying

If you are in a career where you could be transferred to other locales, renting a home has its benefits. Leases are usually for 12 months, which gives you more mobility and flexibility if you are transferred or want to live in another location.
As a renter, your landlord is responsible for almost all repairs and maintenance that may be needed for your rental home. This frees up your time and costs associated with maintaining your own home.

Buying a home is not for everyone. If you are not ready to purchase a home, you could reap the benefits of renting a home.

Take the Mystery Out of Finding the Right Tenant

Putting your home up for rent in Charlotte can be an overwhelming task. Sentimental attachment and concerns about damage and lost value may cause you to hesitate and worry about selecting the right tenant.

Landlords have two primary concerns, timely rent payments and protecting their property. These few simple tips for renting a house can help ensure you select a tenant that pays on time and won’t abuse your home.

Have a Rental Application

A sound application process removes much of the guesswork and allows landlords to qualify potential tenants. Every rental application should include:

  • Name
  • Employer
  • Income source and amount
  • Previous rental addresses and landlords’ contact information
  • References
  • A signed authorization to check their credit with a space for their Social Security Number

Take the time to review the application. Check previous landlords and references, and confirm credit history.

Property damaged at previous rentals, forfeited security deposits, or late rent payments are red flags. Remember, the right tenant will not damage your property and will pay the rent on time.

Have a Lease

A lease is a legal document that protects both landlord and tenant rights. As laws vary between states, it’s a good idea to avoid a generic online lease and have an attorney prepare one for you. At a minimum, your lease should include:

  • The term of the lease
  • Security deposit amount
  • Monthly rent payment day
  • Penalties for late payments
  • Responsibility for maintenance and repairs
  • Names of all occupants
  • Policy regarding pets and any additional pet-related fees
  • Responsibility for Homeowner Association (HOA) fees
  • All rules that tenants must follow including HOA regulations, noise level, parking, smoking, etc.
  • Conditions for tenant eviction
  • How you will show the home if you intend to sell while it is rented

Hire a Property Management Company

The initial expense of having a property management company find a good tenant can pay for itself in the first month or two of rental. Professional management companies already have a process in place for:

  • Advertising
  • Tenant background checks
  • Periodic property inspections
  • Rent collection
  • Collecting late fees and penalties
  • Evictions

Many homeowners find professional property management well worth the expense. If you choose to do it yourself, make sure you have a good application and lease. Follow these tips for renting a house, and you’ll remove much of the mystery from selecting the right tenant.

Is Ballantyne Right for Me? Four Things To Consider Before Researching Ballantyne NC Homes for Rent

Nestled on 2,000 acres of land pressed closed to the South Carolina border, Ballantyne is considered one of Charlotte’s more affluent and upscale communities. This is a beautiful neighborhood full of fantastic Ballantyne NC home for rent that is a great place to live, but it might not be for everyone. The following is a quick look at what this community has to offer to help you better determine whether or not this is the right place for you to settle into:

  • Lot of house for your money. While many of Charlotte’s neighborhoods boast homes that date back to the 1950s and earlier, Ballantyne features more modern developments with most Ballantyne NC homes for rent being built over the course of the last 20 years. This means a lot of brick and stucco traditional styles that boast big floor plans and more than one bathroom.
  • Great for golfers. Whether you enjoy swinging clubs or flipping frisbees, Ballantyne is a great place to be for golfers of all shades. Disc golfers will love living near to the Elon Park Recreation Center with its mix of courses while more traditional golfers have a country club and PGA-ranked golf course to play at. Never golfed but want to? Sign up at the nearby Dana Rader Golf School.
  • Tons of shopping options. If you love shopping and socializing, then you’ll love the Blakeney shopping center. This 270-acre multiuse development is one of Charlotte’s most popular shopping, dining, and entertainment districts and when you live in Ballantyne it’s right at your backdoor. Other nearby shopping destinations include Carolina Place, SouthPark Mall, and StoneCrest at Piper Glen.
  • Excellent school system. Ballantyne NC homes for rent are particularly popular among parents due to this neighborhood’s outstanding school district. The community’s Hawk Ridge Elementary, Ballantyne Elementary, and Ballantyne School of Music have all enjoyed excellent reviews and ratings but most notable here is Ardrey Kell High School, having received an A+ overall rating and a commendable student-to-teacher ratio of just 21:1.

College students and young professionals might feel out of place in Ballantyne, but if you’re a parent, wanting to start a family, or looking for a quiet suburban neighborhood, then Ballantyne is a great choice!

How a Quality Property Management Company Helps Find & Keep Quality Tenants

Owning rental properties is one of those things that can look great on paper, but is a nightmare in real life if you get the wrong type of tenants. Your Charlotte, NC properties are an investment and you want others to treat them like an investment. This is why the primary job of a property management company is finding and keeping outstanding tenants to fill their clients’ properties. Outstanding tenants being ones that always pay their bills on time and ensure proper care and maintenance of the property.

Naturally, finding such outstanding tenants is rarely easy and requires a strong understanding of what to look for and what to overlook. A quality property management company has the experience and skill to find the best new tenants for any property. This includes:

  • A strong marketing department. A good way to determine whether you are working with a quality property management company or not is to look at the marketing department. Reputable management groups aren’t just reposting your listing on Craigslist. Rather, they are using a variety of resources to reach out to as many quality renters as possible.
  • Available online application. To sift through as many applications as possible to pick out the best tenants requires being readily available. This starts with taking applications online 24/7 for given properties and keeping a comprehensive database of prospective tenants.
  • Knowing what to screen for. No property management company or landlord can discriminate against prospective renters based on the big seven (race, religion, disability, gender, familial status, national origin, or age). However, there are other key aspects that management groups can use to decline a prospective tenant and prevent a bad tenant-landlord situation from occurring. For example, screening for bad credit, criminal histories, evictions, job histories, pets, smoking, and similar items are acceptable and a manner to ensure a property owner gets a quality tenant.
  • Positive relationships with tenants. Finally, a quality management company understands that to keep their property-owning clients happy, they must keep their tenants happy. To do so, employees prioritize tenant concerns, treating each with respect and swiftly responding to their concerns and needs. Even the best of tenants can be disgruntled, responding with care and promptness is key to ensure the property is kept in its best condition and those good tenants stay happy.

Contact us to learn more!

Questions to Ask When Hiring a Professional Property Management Company

The Charlotte area is booming with opportunities and those opportunities are attracting new residents of every age, profession, and familial status. For those who have invested in real estate, this makes now an outstanding time to own rental properties. But owning rental properties and effectively operating them are two very different kind of things and many owners of rental properties find that operations go a lot smoother when they work with a professional property management company.

A professional property management team takes charge of all those nitty-gritty aspects of operating rental properties that most owners don’t have the time, knowledge, or capacity to handle on their own. These tasks include showing the property, tending to current tenants, managing and recording all finances, interviewing and hiring contractors, and so much more. It’s no wonder why so many real estate investors work with a professional property management company in Charlotte.

But before you just pick the first professional property management company listed on Google, be sure to ask prospective services the following key questions:

  • Do they have an Owner’s Manual? One of the first things a professional property management company will offer you is an owner’s manual that details how their company runs their operations and what property owners can expect to occur in certain scenarios, such as dealing with late rents or move out procedures. An owner’s manual provides both parties with clear, written expectations of how operations will run. Any management service that does not offer this and instead runs on assumptions and ambiguity should be avoided.
  • How often are formal inspections performed? Conducting routine, formal inspections of your real estate properties should be considered a normal part of a property management service package. If a management company starts to balk at the request or demand a higher price for regular visits, then it’s time to walk away. It’s no secret that rental properties in the hands of poor tenants age fast, a good rental management service will do those routine inspections necessary to ensure your investment is and stays in good condition. Additionally, new property managers should complete a full inspection of the property and produce a ‘building file’ for both their records and yours before the first tenant moves in.

For more information about property management and best traits to look for when hiring a service, contact us.

Online CE: Property Management in Today’s World

Recently, an online real estate education company, Real Time Learn, produced and is offering a 4-hour CE class which our Vice President, Joe Rempson wrote and conducted.  This is an excellent course by an experienced, hands-on property manager and we are excited to tell you all about it!

4 hours of elective credit from a hands-on, experienced CPM & CCIM.   What is a good investment property?   How to determine rental rates?  What you should know about tenant screening, security deposits, service animals, escrow accounts, leases, management agreements and the NCREC rules & regulations.   Learn from a true subject matter expert!

Get your CE credit in your pajamas at home!   Register today at http://realtimelearn.com/courses/nc-approved-electives/property-management/