How to Enjoy Stress-Free Rental Home Ownership

Owning rental homes is challenging. With repairs needed, collecting rents and finding qualified tenants, landlords can become stressed out if one of the following conditions exist

  • Limited or no experience as a landlord
  • Having a full-time career, reducing your available time
  • Having many rental units, creates property management challenges


How to Reduce Stress with Rental Properties

The solution to reduce stress caused by rental properties: Hire the best property management company for you. But how do you select the best company? Consider these questions to narrow the field of property management companies in Charlotte, NC or anywhere else.

  • How many rental units do they manage? The more experience and units they manage, the more expertise they may (emphasize the word “may”) have.
  • What is the number of employees who are managing the units and how many units doeseach staff member manage? Having sufficient experienced personnel is important toreducing the firm’s stress levels as well as your own. Properly trained, seasoned staff can manage around 30 to 40 units each if given the right technology tools.
  • Does the company own units? Owning and managing units could pose future problems for you. Which vacancies do you think will be filled first?
  • Do personnel visit the units and conduct the inspections? Inspection visits ensure your tenants are taking care of your property and identify unacceptable renters.
  • Does the firm use automated tenant management system software? Investment in and training for the best systems is vital for efficient property management.
  • How are the fees calculated? Common percentages are 7 to 10 percent, based on collected rents, not maximum rent that could or might be collected. Only pay for rent actually collected
  • How do they handle maintenance requirements? Be strict with allowing the firm to spend your dollars without consulting you first. Put a maximum amount of $250 to $275 to correct issues, before getting your written permission to spend more.
  • When are monthly reports ready for your examination? Put an actual deadline of six or seven days into a new month to view your printed or online reports.

Getting satisfactory answers to these questions can help you evaluate property management companies in Charlotte, NC. Don’t be shy. Keep asking until you get the answers you need to hire the best company for you, reducing the stress of managing rental properties. When you want the best in Charlotte, consider T.R. Lawing Realty, Inc., successfully managing area properties for over 50 years.

A Job Well Done

We love getting feedback from our residents, especially great feedback.  A resident contacted us recently about a problem with his air conditioning.  He describes his experience with our maintenance tech, Todd Love as “the epitome of efficiency” and that he wished to express his “satisfaction” for a job “well done.”

We are very proud of Todd Love, who is just one of many here at T. R. Lawing Realty that strive to serve our owners and customers with the best service possible.  He is a great example to us all!

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Summer Violations

With the summer season in full swing and violation notices on the rise, it never hurts to remind our residents of their obligations when it comes to the care of their rental property before the dreaded City or Homeowner’s Association letter arrives with or without fines.

HOA ViolationsEach new resident signs a Maintenance Addendum in addition to their standard NC lease.  Although it does not list everything the resident is responsible for maintaining, the purpose of this addendum is to give the resident specific examples of their obligations under the lease as well as remind the resident that “good housekeeping is expected of everyone.”

Below please find excerpts from the maintenance addendum regarding the subject of our most common violation letters.  A full copy of this addendum is included with each resident’s individual copy of the lease package.

Exterior Maintenance

  • Mow the grass in a timely manner.
  • Clean any gutters and trim any shrubs at least semi-annually.
  • Keep the porches, patios, balconies, and front and back yards free of clutter, unsightly items, and other personal articles.
  • Do not leave any personal belongings on the lawns, walks, driveways or in the halls, staircases or any Common Areas.
  • Do not hang laundry, clothing, towels, rugs, carpets, etc. from windows or from porch rails.
  • Do not allow beer kegs, party balls, “punch” parties, or any container of alcohol over 32 oz. on the premises at any time.
  • Dispose of all rubbish, garbage, and other waste in a clean and safe manner and comply with all applicable ordinances concerning garbage collection, making sure that all garbage is placed in suitable containers.  Comply with all obligations imposed by the applicable recycling laws in the appropriate county and properly dispose of all recyclables in the container provided.
  • Do not leave any garbage or recycling container at the curb for more than 24 hours.
  • Comply with any and all rules and regulations imposed by the Homeowner’s Association.


  • Tenants and their guests may park only in designated areas and not on the grass.
  • Keep driveways,roof and garage floors free of oil and grease. If there is anything wrong with your roof have Roofing411 come out and fix them.
  • Do not keep inoperable or unlicensed vehicles on the property.
  • Tenants and their guests may not work on motor vehicles in the parking lot of the complex or in the driveway of the residence.
  • Do not drive vehicles on the lawn for any reason.

Charlotte is known as a beautiful city and we can’t blame our local government or Homeowner’s Associations for wanting to preserve that reputation.  Preventing a violation is the best way to insure that you will not receive a notice or a letter or fine.

10 Ways To Beat The Heat This Summer

It’s hot y’all!  Though temps are not near the extremes it good be, summer is in full swing in the Greater Charlotte area and beyond.  We thought of some ways that you could “beat the heat” this Summer, especially when the temps really get going.

  1. Go To The Pool – That’s where we will be! While you are there, don’t forget to drink plenty of water and apply plenty of sunscreen.  If you aren’t a member of a pool, no worries.  The Greater Charlotte YMCA can make you a member as soon as TODAY!  Family memberships are very reasonable.  For more information, visit
  2. Run Through A Backyard Sprinkler – Memories!  I used to love running through the sprinkler when I was a kid and not just any sprinkler.  I loved the slow moving ones that fanned out and rocked back and forth.  If the pool option is a “no go”, this is the perfect alternative and you can pick one up on your way home from work from your local Lowe’s Garden Center.  For just under $10, you will be cool in no time.
  3. Go To A Movie – Check out the $1 movie days at your local theater or grown ups will appreciate the kid free movies at Cinnebarre.  The longer the movie, the better!  Save on energy costs by using up their A/C.
  4. Visit A Waterpark – The obvious choice here would be Carowinds, since it is right here in the city, but why not get in the car and head out of Charlotte for a day trip to Wet n’ Wild Emerald Pointe Water Park in Greensboro.
  5. Go To The Mountains – Speaking of getting out of town…We are only two hours from the mountains and why not take advantage of that this weekend.  Head up to Linville Caverns where the temperature is always a cool 52 degrees or drive down the Blue Ridge Parkway and find a waterfall.  It may not be any cooler in the mountains this weekend but it will be less than a 100, so why not?
  6. Make Your Own Popsicles – Park yourself by a fan and enjoy your very own homemade popsicle.  Sure you could by a large bag of those sugary, high fructose corn syrup popsicles for next to nothing at the grocery store, but seriously do you want your children to consume all 100 of those things within two days and think of the wrappers that will be everywhere.  I know I am not the only one that has happened to.  Besides with very little prep, you can have some great homemade popsicles.
  7. Let’s Go To The Mall Everybody! – For all you HIMYM fans out there, you go it right?!  Again, another example of using someone else’s A/C.  Whether you go window shopping or you engage in some serious retail therapy, this weekend, summer clothing will be on sale so that stores can make way for the fall clothing lines arriving in July.  That’s right!  I said fall!  Can you just imagine the crisp cool October mornings?  Feeling better already.
  8. Go To A Museum – Thanks to the political bloggers trying to figure out what to do while stationed here in Charlotte besides eating BBQ, they have reminded us about all the great museums in town.  There are plenty of them too!  You could go to the Charlotte Nature Museum, the Levine Museum of the New South, the Mint Museum (both Uptown and Randolph Road), and of course, Discovery Place .  Also, if you feel the need for speed, we are home to the NASCAR Hall of Fame.  There is something for everyone in this melting pot we call Charlotte.
  9. Go Ice Skating – What better way to dream of cooler temperatures than a winter sport.  You can certainly find an ice rink close to you but I suggest, the Extreme Ice Center in Indian Trail.
  10. DRINK PLENTY OF WATER!! – It may not cool you down but it is necessary when facing extreme temperatures.  Be sure you are replacing what your body is sweating out.  I always keep a refillable water bottle handy and one of the best one out there is the Camelbak Insulated Water Bottle.  I usually fill it to the top with ice and then water it down.  It stays cool for hours and as the ice melts, instant water refill!  Also, the insulated body keeps the water bottle from sweating and getting everything all wet.

No matter what you do to “beat the heat”, stay safe, stay hydrated and pray for rain!

How Managing A Property Yourself Could End In More Than Headache

When we get calls in the office inquiring about our property management services, it’s usually the case that the client on the other end of the phone call is already sold on the idea of having their property managed. At the stage in which they contact us, they’re essentially shopping around, trying to find what they think is the best deal for services rendered.

imageBut what about those people who remain unconvinced that property management is a fit for them? What about those who feel as if they can manage every aspect of their investment themselves? For the ones who find themselves faced with the option of handling their investment property, a very small percentage of those are actually prepared to deal with the sometimes-stressful financial upkeep, the various legal ins and outs, the marketing and prospective tenant screening and the sheer amount of time and patience required to manage a property successfully.

For the rest, however, trying to manage a property without these overall experiences and abilities can often end in less-than-desirable results.

I’ve heard horror stories of homeowners who decided to manage their own property having to deal with months of litigation and unpaid rent simply because they didn’t know or weren’t aware of the many North Carolina laws and procedures dealing with the eviction process. Not only did they have to foot the bill for the mortgage payments themselves, on top of legal costs, but but oftentimes when they finally regained possession of the property, it had been trashed by the finally-evicted tenant.  Would you want to spend one to three months marketing a property, getting the property freshly painted and repaired, only to have to evict a destructive tenant months after a signed lease and spend hundreds of dollars getting it ready to rent again?

We’ve all seen those “People’s Court” episodes with the tenants disputing the loss of their security deposit and the landlords making their claims for the damages caused by the tenants – these situations can be extremely emotionally draining on the average property owner and, even in the case of the court finding in favor of the landlord, the amount of legal fees  almost makes the ordeal not worth the hassle.  Would you feel comfortable taking time off from work to stand in front of a judge, providing pictures illustrating damage done by your tenant or proof of unpaid rent?

The pitfalls of tenant screening can leave a landlord stuck with a less-than-desirable resident as well. I hear from owners quite a bit that when they managed the property themselves, they did check the applicant’s credit, but just stopped there, not bothering to check rental history or even do basic background checks! I’ve heard tales of illegal activities,  damaged properties and tenants skipping out on the lease because of these neglected details. Would you let someone sign a lease to rent your property if you knew they had trashed the last place they lived in or caused the police to be called out to their property every other weekend?

Even physical presence becomes an issue with handling rentals. Many homeowners/investors live out of state, and can’t handle issues like emergency repairs or being physically present in court to handle evictions and other claims. Would you feel confident sending a friend or family member with no experience in court preceedings to represent your investment in front of a judge?  Would you have any confidence sending a friend at 3am to fix a burst pipe in a basement?

At the end of the day, a homeowner/investor has to ask the question: Do I want to handle all of these details myself or pay a company with experience in these matters to handle the details for me?


Little League 6-peat!

The Little League team which T. R. Lawing Realty sponsors won their Championship Game on Saturday which makes 6 consecutive years of champion teams for our company!

Congratulations to all the players, parents and a special thanks to the coaches Barry Thackston,
Dick Brown, and Barry Deel.

We look forward to another successful season next year!