Renting a property out can be worrying, especially if you are not nearby. Although it can be refreshing to not live in the same building as your tenants if you own an apartment building, it comes with its own stressors. For example, what if there is an emergency while you are away? What if someone can't seem to get in contact with you? What happens when everything breaks at once and you're not in the building? There are a few things you can do to lessen this stress, so take a deep breath and relax- everything has a solution. One of the first things to think about deals with issues every house or building has: plumbing problems. While many can be simple fixes, sometimes they need a little more attention than your tenant- or you- can give it. While this is possible, try different routes first. Check that your tenant has a plunger in case the toilet or sink becomes a little backed up. If they don't, it's always a good idea to keep a cheap spare in a storage closet. Another good thing to keep on hand is a disposable, single use snake. Although they are not long, they can definitely be useful for small clogs that are shallow in the pipes. Also, you should keep a tool box with these things which are used only for the apartment or building just in case you forget something there. This way you won't lose all your tools and hardware for good. If a problem proves to be beyond your abilities to fix, make sure to supply your tenant with the number of a good plumber that you trust just in case you can't get back in time to make the call or if it's an emergency. Another major issue buildings often have deal with electrical faults. The electricity in a building can be finicky, especially if the wiring is older. While every building has its own quirks that residents need to learn, even the most up to date homes can have issues which are beyond human control. One option that you can take is the purchase of a generator to keep some power running to the building in the case of an outage. Even if it only provides emergency power to a couple of outlets, this is always a good idea, especially if you live or rent in an area that is prone to severe weather. While no one expects you to be an all-around handy man, there are some things you can do to help ease both your and your tenants stay in the building. These may turn expensive, but they will not go unappreciated and will certainly pay for themselves eventually in the long run.
We all know that people complain. It's one of the things humans do best. Some people will pick and pick until there is seemingly nothing more to complain about, but somehow they find something. Everyone knows at least one of these people. What happens if one of these people happens to be your renter? There are a few things that you can do to help yourself, and your tenants, stay sane. 1. Draw up a clause in the renters agreement. Just in case someone like this is thinking of renting from you, you can attempt to preemptively nip this behavior in the bud by something as simple as a paragraph or two in the original agreement. Have a section dedicated to complaints and what kind of maintenance they should or should not contact you about. Obviously, the renter should communicate with their landlord if there is a severe problem such as plumbing, electricity, or bugs, however it is up to you what else you should be responsible for. If their toilet becomes clogged due to use or too much toilet paper, is this your problem or theirs? If a light is out because of a blown bulb which they can reach, should they have to replace it or should you? Simple things like this often slip our minds but are all things that others may come to you with a complaint about, even if it is outside your power to control. 2. Be accessible. In the event of something occurring which is covered in the contract as your responsibility, or even if it isn't in the contract, you need to be easily accessible to your client. Nothing upsets or worries a renter more than something going wrong and not being able to get into contact with the person who they rent from. We at Talley Properties are on call 24/7 just in case something happens, so we understand what it means to be there when needed. If the person is a chronic complainer, you always have the option of screening your calls, however that is cautioned against because many will catch on to that rather quickly. Remember to check your emails, your phone, and perhaps give a method of contact in case of extreme emergencies only. At the end of the day, people will complain. One of the best things you can do is listen to them and attempt to fix the problem quickly. Always check up with your client at a slightly later date to make sure everything is going smoothly, and sometimes even check in when nothing has gone wrong recently to show you do care. If none of this works, often offering an early severance option will get renters to stand down as they suddenly realize that dealing with what they perceive to be inconveniences are rather small in comparison with having to move.
One of the biggest problems that face those with rental properties is finding someone to rent. Although it may seem like this would be an easy task, perspective clients are normally worried about a number of things and will look through hundreds of different rentals before deciding to look at even one. Then there is the concern on your end if they will be reliable. So what can you do to attract a good client without emptying your own wallet? 1. Post on social media. While this may seem obvious, there are so many different routes to take on the internet. There are always sites such as craigslist.com or apartments.com as well as phone apps such as Trulia and Renters. Take advantage of these, they are often the first place a client will look. While Talley Properties does reach a large client base, it can't hurt to also post elsewhere. 2. Don't Wait! One problem many renters have is that they wait until the previous tenant has moved out to begin their search for a new one. Although it is more difficult showing an apartment with someone living in it, if you and the current renter can come to an agreement, it will minimize the down time in your space so there isn't a large lapse in income from the rental property. 3. Pictures, Pictures, Pictures. Much like the old saying about location, pictures are now all important as well. As you have seen, Talley Properties use pictures galore to help sell different properties to those looking. Many renters will refuse to call about a location if pictures are not provided, as it sends up a red flag to many that either the apartment is undesirable or the landlord does not care. It is incredibly simple now to upload pictures to different websites, so take a couple of extra minutes (after cleaning) to take some flattering pictures of your location. 4. Act as if you are selling- because you are! Although you aren't selling this property permanently, you are in a way temporarily selling a location off when you rent it. Sell both the lease and yourself as if you are selling a full house, although go easy on scents in the location as many people do have allergies. Vanilla used to be a favorite of realtors, but you don't want your perspective client having an asthma attack. 5. Give a little, get a little- or a lot. One last thing you can do is write into your renters agreement some incentive. Perhaps if your client pays on time for three quarters of the lease, they get $100 off the next month. It will show that you care about more than just their money and make them feel as if it is a truly mutually beneficial agreement. In the end, there are many ways to rent out property for pennies, especially in the Charlotte NC area. Find what works best for you and your location, but keep these tips in mind. They certainly couldn't hurt to try!
Everyone knows the phrase "what goes around, comes around again". The other thing that everyone knows is that it's not always the best idea to leave something alone waiting for the style to come back around again. Although it may work for some things, a rental property is not one of them! There isn't much worse to a person coming in to rent a place than to see something that looks as if the 1970's called dibs on a room. That old pink and blue tile in the bathroom that was so popular in the 1960's? It's certainly not popular anymore. Updating a rental space is one of the best things you can do to keep people interested in an apartment through the years and hopefully through the decades. One of the easiest ways to keep up with modern trends is to make a rental property as simple as possible. Paint it white or a light beige, have minimal furniture at the showing (or none, depending on what was in your advert), and make the area as bright as possible. The use of mirrors, especially across from windows will make rooms seem brighter and larger. White walls, although not always desirable by the client, will ensure that a room doesn't seem dark, small, or dated as colors go in and out of style almost daily. Furniture is a trickier beast to tackle, but thrift shops can be a landlord's best friend. While yes, many things you find will be dated as well, there are a few gems which either are new and discarded or help to cause the old phrase to ring true once more. Other things such as rummage sales at different buildings, churches, or yard sales are bargains just waiting for you as well. Also, Charlotte NC has a few different colleges nearby, and you would be surprised what some students give or throw away. Near the end of the year, take a drive by and see if you can help any students by taking something bulky off their hands. If you have flea markets nearby which only happen on weekends or such, wait until the last day as people are packing up to make an offer as well. Many vendors will be more willing to cut a better deal at this time, as they don't want to have to take their items away just to bring them back in a few days. As for keeping up with the ever-changing styles of homes and buildings, do yourself a favor and either take a couple of hours a week online to check up or glance through design magazines while in line for your groceries. Better Homes and Gardens, although older, is still a leader in design and you can copy many of their images with cheaper items than they use. Keep an ear and eye out, and remember, some classic styles never do really go out.
Many first time or even older tenants often ask many questions. One of the questions which is asked often is, “Does this place allow pets?”. Animals are a huge part of our society and pets are increasingly being used as more than a simple companion. New tenants often want the company that a pet will provide and many older tenants either do not wish to part with an animal who has been with them for quite a while or requires the help of a service pet. While there are laws against excluding service animals from different areas, many elderly and even younger people in increasing numbers, find comfort in having a pet which can help with a vast number of different issues. These can include physical disabilities such as seizures or diabetes, or it can help with mental illness such as anxiety or depression. Many autistic members of society also use animals to help them if there is an issue which causes them to be uncomfortable, as it gives them something tangible to hold to. There are, of course, pros and cons to allowing animals in your establishment. One of the largest concerns is if the animal tends to make a mess. The cleaning bill once your tenant vacates the area could be massive if the animal and owner were both unclean. It almost no longer matters if your flooring is hard wood or carpet, as both can be soiled to the point where they need to be replaced and, if the issue continues long enough, it may begin to effect the structural integrity of the building. This also brings up an issue of neighbors who may be able to smell any mess which the animal makes. This is also true for outside your building. If a tenant has a dog or other animal which uses the bathroom outside, and the owner does not clean up after their animal, many people coming to see your apartments will be quickly put off by the look and smell of the area. After all, if it appears that you don’t care about how the outside of your building looks, how much better could the inside be?
Another concern is allergies. If someone in the building is highly allergic, this could present a problem for you, as you are expected to create a place where all of your residents have a safe and secure area to live. This is especially true if someone with a bad allergy moves into the apartment after the original tenant and the area wasn’t able to be correctly or thoroughly cleaned.
Other areas for concern include noise. If a tenant has a noisy dog, cat, bird, or other animal which continually presents a problem, neighbors may be rather quick to complain or take to social media and other areas to express their discontent. This will present multiple issues for you in the future, as many people make a point to check reviews of areas which have been posted by real people before pursuing a meeting with the person in charge. If there are many negative reviews due to one person’s loud or obnoxious pet, this can lose you a countless amount of customers.
Despite all of these concerns, there are many reasons why allowing pets is a good business move. As previously stated, many people of all ages and backgrounds adore pets. After all, a simple trip online shows America’s obsession with cat videos and dog pictures. This is, naturally, representative of the country’s love for our four-legged, furry, or feathered counterparts.
Allowing pets would obviously increase your customer base. Many people will refuse to live in a place which does not allow pets. People either have a deep connection to their pets, need their pets to provide services to them, to simply have no one else to care for. Perhaps the person has no one else who cares for them, and they cannot face the prospect of losing that connection with another living creature. Whatever the reason for wanting a pet, Americans are well known for spoiling them. This includes in their living environment. The ASPCA estimates that 37-47% of households own a dog and 30-37% have a cat. They believe that there are 70-80 million dogs have been adopted and 74-96 million cats have homes as well. Clearly, that is a large customer group you would be cutting out if pets were not allowed.
Another reason for allowing pets would be to boost the friendly atmosphere of your building. People associate animals with happiness, as owning a pet has been shown to boost your health, both physically and mentally. A place which openly accepts animals seems more open to all people and more accepting of those who may be of a different walk of life. Those who are minorities for any reason may feel more calm walking into an area which holds their arms open to those which come with pets.
Recently, many places have been experimenting with therapy animal rooms or days. Work places, colleges, even hospitals and nursing homes have been allowing therapy animals to come in and mingle with the people who spend their time there. In almost every situation, the location has been pleasantly surprised by how much productivity and positive emotions have risen. It helps people remain happy, which is a good thing no matter where you are.
Naturally, the decision rests with you. You know what will be best for your building and what you want your business to stand for. The idea of having pets allowed is also not a binary option. It is not necessarily yes or no. You may choose, for instance, to allow certain kinds of animals. You may choose to only allow service animals. You may even choose to allow animals under a certain weight or of a certain species. The options are plentiful and none should be ignored. Once you have decided which you believe to be the best, advertise to those who would fit best in your community. Those who move in will always thank you in the long run.