Tornado Safety: How To Keep From Getting “Blown Away”

 Many people are unprepared when it comes to changes in the weather – it seems everything from hard rains to snow flurries cause the citizens of the Queen City to go into a state of panic; flooding the grocery stores for canned-good provisions and losing the ability to drive with any amount of sanity.  That’s why it’s even more crucial to keep one’s head in the face of truly severe inclement weather like tornadoes.  “But what can I do?”you ask, hurriedly, as you toss gallon after gallon of whole milk into your backseat.

Remember these Four Steps to keep your cool when the forecast calls for tumultuous winds:

1. Be Alert – Do the skies look grim and foreboding? Stop trying to play meteorologist and turn on the news or check your local websites for weather reports. Overloaded by the number of sites out there? Try Weather.com.

2. Make Sure Your Insurance Is Active – For homeowners, a lapsed insurance policy can make a huge difference in the face of a natural disaster.  “But I’m renting this property!” you say. Don’t think you need to protect your valuables?  Read this nifty article on the importance of Renter’s Insurance.

3. Seek Shelter- If a tornado is in your area, it’s not a good idea trying to outrun or out-drive one. You can flash back to those elementary school drills if you want, but check NOAA.gov for concise instructions that will fit any situation you may find yourself to be in.  A good basic rule of thumb: stay away from walls and out of rooms with lots of things that could go flying around.

4. Develop A Safety Plan With Family/Friends – Where are the flashlights? Where will you meet if you get separated? Who’s got the key to the storeroom with all of my canned goods? Figure out a game plan beforehand and you won’t be so frazzled in the midst of an emergency. Check The Tornado Project for more tips on dealing with tornadoes.

Don’t be caught unawares like SOME people…

Winterization Tips for Owners and Tenants

Fall is a good time of year to begin preparing your home for the winter. As temperatures begin to drop, your home will require some low maintenance in order to keep it worry-free throughout the winter. Included are some easy tips on how to winterize your home, whether you be an owner or a tenant!

       1.)  Water Lines – to prevent water lines from freezing and bursting during cold weather:

  • Allow water to trickle, especially at night when the temperatures drop.
  • Disconnect and drain all garden hoses from outside faucets.
  • Always know where your water main is located in case you need to shut it off in emergencies.
  • If you go on vacation, leave the heat on, set to at least 55 degrees.
  • Open up all cabinet doors to allow warm air to circulate and warm the pipes.

       2.)  Gutters and Downspouts:

  • Make sure that these are clear with no leaves or debris.
  • Wet leaves and debris remaining in the gutter over winter adds a significant weight and volume to the gutter when frozen and increases water build-up on the roof.

       3.)  Chimneys and Fireplaces:

  • If using a wood burner fireplace or vented gas logs, get a cap or screen for the top of the chimney to keep out birds and rodents.
  • Inspect the fireplace damper for the proper opening and closing.

        4.) Heating and Cooling Systems:

  • Replace the a/c and furnace filters EVERY 45-60 days.
  • This ensures the most efficient economical operation of your system. Clogged filters can inhibit the operation of the system and cause costly repairs.
  • Clean the registers throughout the unit.
  • Clear obstacles from the vents so air can flow freely.

          5.)  Prepare an Emergency Kit:

  • Buy flashlights or battery operated lanterns for use during power shortages.

       6.)  If vacating (moving out) during the winter months:

  • Shut off the main water supply valve.
  • Open all hot and cold water faucets.
  • Include tubs, showers, outdoor faucets and flush all toilets
  • Mix antifreeze with water in a bucket.
  • Pour at least a quart into the sink and in the tub traps first.
  • For the toilets, pour a gallon into each toilet, then flush to dislodge the water. The antifreeze will collect in the toilet trap.
  • If you are on a well/septic system, simply drain the water tap.

* For owners, T.R. Lawing Realty offers a Winterization Service, for a fee, which handles items such as the ones listed above for vacant properties.    

 Following these easy tips will help ensure your home with low maintenance during the winter months.  For owners, tax credits for energy-efficient insulated glass doors and windows will be ending this year, so take advantage of this while it’s available!  An inexpensive heating bill can look mighty attractive to an interested tenant!

Battling the Property-Finding Blues

Finding a home in even the best of circumstances can be a daunting task. Juggling hectic work schedules, taking care of family and finding time to wind down from it all often leaves the best of us exhausted to say the least! So how do you fit in time to look for a new home with everything else you’re juggling?  Luckily, T.R. Lawing Realty has some tips to help you find peace of mind in the tumultuous sea of searching!

Call us at 704-414-2000!

Call Our Office! We have friendly and helpful staff available from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday(starting 9:00 a.m. on Wednesdays) – ask everything from general questions to in-depth queries about our listings and application process – we’ll be glad to help! If you’re not able to call our office, we have many other options to choose from!

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We print and place up-to-date vacancy listings in these boxes daily(one located next to the WindoVision module)!

Visit Our Office After Hours! We have two resources for searching our vacancies located on-site and available to the public after business hours. We have vacancy flyers printed daily with up-to-date property information, conveniently stocked on the exterior of our office(one at our front door)…

Our WindoVision touchpoint display is available 24/7 and allows for interactivity in viewing(and hearing!) about our listings!

…and we also have an interactive  WindoVision display on the building exterior, updated daily with our premier listings, available at any time of day or night, allowing customers on-the-go to quickly view(and hear) about our listings. We have MLS maps of the Charlotte area for newcomers and Queen City veterans alike, a healthy sampling of available properties from our house, condo, duplex and apartment portfolio, and an electronic form to request more information simply by inputting your email address!

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Check Our Website!

Go to www.trlawing.com today to begin your search!

Right from our homepage, you can enter the features important to you: from number of bedrooms and baths to price range and area of Charlotte and surrounding Charlotte areas convenient to your workplace and family.  You can even use our HomeFinder Service to automatically receive weekly emails with properties matching your needs! During our office hours, you can use our BoldChat features to chat live and in person with our friendly and knowledgeable staff!

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Email us at info@trlawing.com today with your search criteria, and let us do the work for you!

Let Us Search For You! Gotten tired of weeding through the numerous websites online and want someone to help you find the right property to fit you?  Look no further than info@trlawing.com ! We have highly responsive staff with access to search tools that can give you a list of properties tailored to your personal criteria!  Let us help you find the right home for you!  You can also submit rental inquiries to our Twitter page @Trlawing for quick responses!

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We have a suite of tools to make your home search more efficient and easy!

Why You Should Be Following T.R. Lawing Realty

We’ve heard your questions! “What are the benefits I receive from following T.R. Lawing Realty on Twitter,  becoming a fan of theirs on Facebook or reading their Rental “Real Talk” blogs?”  Well, here are just some of the ways following T.R. Lawing Realty can benefit YOU!

On Twitter: T.R. Lawing Realty posts rent and application specials using this popular social network, providing daily commentary on local and global news/events, insight on Charlotte living(for those already living and for those interested in moving to the Queen City!), allowing a resource for rentals for local Realtors(we offer referral fees to Realtors for showing listings to clients who successfully lease the property!) as well as a resource for prospective tenants and the general public!

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Becoming a fan of T.R. Lawing Realty on Facebook gets you access to Virtual Tours of our property listings and also serves as a forum for talkback with tenants, prospective renters and local figures in our community! If you have a question about the services we offer, comments about an experience with us or inquiries about available listings, you can post here!  Connect us with your friends and family and anyone who’s looking to rent or to manage their property!

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Reading our blog, Rental “Real Talk” (currently broadcast on a M/W/F schedule) is the best way to keep up with things going on with our company! From commentary on the state of the rental market from our property managers to talkback addressing tenant concerns, our blogsite is a public forum for discussion and finding out important information whether you be a property owner deciding what to do with your home or a potential renter, new to the area! 

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Offering a suite of resources, following T.R. Lawing Realty can simultaneously offer you great options for property management and/or property leasing and enhance your connectivity and enjoyment in the Charlotte Metro Area!

The Success of DocuSign

Recently, T.R. Lawing Realty adopted the use of DocuSign‘s e-signature technology in efforts to streamline the new account process.  We’d been receiving more paperwork through faxes and scanned emails and, quite frankly, the quality of legibility left much to be desired.

After tweaking documents and other forms, we’ve found it to be a great tool to help us work more efficiently;  it’s a great way to get information and paperwork to owners quicker and with more accurate information.  The e-signature technology allows us to send pertinent New Account information to potential owners and gives owners the ability to fill out the document and attach their own personalized e-signature to the document, which is legally enforceable and can be used in lieu of a physical inked signature.

As with most things, there is a bit of a learning curve and some fear of “the new” – some people just prefer paper documents and surprisingly, not all clients have access to email.

We’re also working towards drafting lease agreements through our Leasing Department – we foresee faster turn-around time on signed leases, and a cleaner end-product overall.

We were alerted to DocuSign’s suite of solutions this past April, when the Federal Housing Administration accepted DocuSign for real estate contracts nationwide( follow this link ).  So far, we’ve gotten a large amount of positive feedback on those who have used this service.  Part of being an effective property management company means being able to change and evolve with the times and to adopt and effectively use new technologies.

Click here for more information on DocuSign

Click here and here for more information concerning legislation for Digital Signatures.

Joe

Congratulations to David Kennedy – Workforce Housing Graduate

David's Award!

Congratulations to David Kennedy for completion of the Charlotte Regional Realtor Association Housing Opportunity Foundation’s Workforce Housing Certificate Program!

Mr. Kennedy is now part of an elite group of 128 active Realtors who have received the distinction of Workforce Housing Specialist.

Click here for more information concerning the Workforce Housing Program!

Certificate of Completion

Don’t Let The Bedbugs Bite!

This year, the United States has seen a resurgence of bedbug cases over the summer months, particularly in hotels, but in residences as well.

As defined in most lease agreements, it is the tenant’s responsibility to take care of pest control during their tenancy.  Knowledge is often the best defense when dealing with pests and in this case, knowing the signs of a possible bed bug presence and how to deal with them are crucial to maintaining a pest-free environment.

Here are some resources to help you get started on your path to creating your own pest-free home:

Charlotte Observer: Bed Bugs Article 1

Charlotte Observer: Bed Bugs Article 2

MedicineNet Article on BedBugs

Thad

Congratulations to Thad Gantt – Graduate Realtor Institute

Congratulations to Thad Gantt for the following distinction:

Thad's Award!

The North Carolina Real Estate Educational Foundation, Inc. & The North Carolina Association of Realtors, Inc. confers the title of Graduate Realtor Institute to Thad Gantt:

“Who has met all the requirements prescribed by the Board of Directors of the Foundation, including the completion of ninety hours of instruction and the demonstration by examination of superior achievement in meeting the objectives of the Institute.”

For more information on Thad Gantt, follow this link: Who We Are

For more information on the distinction of G.R.I., follow this link: Graduate Realtors Institute

How To Avoid Internet Rental Property Scams

With many transactions being able to take place entirely online, renting a property in this manner should not be.

Here are portions of an emailed letter sent to a person who inquired about a property online(it was brought to our attention because it referenced a property WE managed!):

         “Presently Myself and my wife have moved out of the house due to my work transfer to Western Region in Africa and we will be away for good 5 years or more and this is reason why we are actually renting it out so if you are interested in taking good care of our house, then my family will be ready in accepting you as our new tenant who be fully incharge of our house.”

It’s a pretty major red flag that the supposed owners of this property can’t meet face-to-face. With the many pitfalls of identity theft these days, a face-to-face meeting is a MUST when considering renting a property. You wouldn’t buy a house without meeting someone, and you definitely shouldn’t send money to a stranger online who can’t meet in person to lease the property to you.

     “So that will can forward you an Application to fill out and discuss on how to get the House for rent and also the Entrances keys and the document of our house,also are you ready to rent it now or when? Await your urgent reply. Thanks for your understanding.”

Watch out also for poorly-written messages. You should NEVER attempt to rent a property on the faith that keys and a lease will be mailed to you. You should also NEVER give out your personal information to an individual you’ve never met nor a company you’ve never heard of.  If you can find no information online about a company, that’s another red flag. Any reputable business should at the very least have a website, staff that can be reached over the phone and a physical location that can be visited.

When looking for properties online, keep the following in mind:

 - Check your sources – it’s a red flag if you’re not able to speak with the landlord of the property over the phone or even meet them face to face.

 - NEVER give our personal information like social security numbers, addresses, bank account information, etc to individuals over the phone or email.

 - There are sources you can check online to see if the person you’re speaking with is indeed the owner of the property – use these resources!

 - If it looks too good to be true, it probably is!

Sallie