Ways to Set Your Listing Apart

Charlotte Properties
One of the main things that you are striving to do when you put your apartment listing up is to attract the attention of someone before another rental property does. While some of this has to do with luck and timing, some of it has to do with how you write up the listing as well as what is offered with the apartment. Sometimes this can be as simple as the amenities that are available (such as a pool or on site laundry), but other times you may be able to spice up your listing. Here are a few ways that this can be done effectively.
1. Be Enthusiastic. This is hands down the best way to get someone's attention with a written posting. If you seem enthusiastic about your property, they will be too. This is done in many ways, but we suggest not relying strictly on the caps lock button. If you gush about how wonderful the property is, then you will likely attract more attention for yourself than if you just stated the facts in a cold and boring manner.
2. Pictures, Pictures, Pictures! Nothing is more upsetting to most people checking apartment listings online than finding something that sounds perfect but having no pictures to back up that assumption. It doesn't matter how well you have the information written up or how many amenities you have listed, without pictures for proof and a way to get an idea of the look and layout of the apartment, you automatically will not get as many hits as even some of the worst listings that do have them. Make sure that you have some pictures that are clear and well-lit before you post anything online.
These are only a couple of ways that you can make sure that your listing is set apart, and if you don't see something that you haven't done yet then don't worry! This will be a two part article listing so that you can get a couple more ideas of what to do in order to catch the attention of that perfect tenant that you and your rental apartment are just waiting for. If you have a method that you have found to work better than any others, let us know and maybe we can help to pass that on to others to help them as well!

After a Disaster

Charlotte Properties
No matter how much we work to prevent them, disaster can strike anywhere at any time. This means that we need to be prepared to try and stop them as well as have a plan in place for what we can do if they happen. Here are a couple of ideas of where to start in your plan in case disaster strikes.
1. Insurance Claims. Just about the first thing you should do once you know everyone is safe is call your insurance company. You need to file a claim as soon as possible so they can get you the money you will need to get everything back to normal. This should always be one of the first things that you do after disaster strikes.
2. Carpets. If you have carpets in your rental property, you may want to consider ripping them out and replacing them. This is true whether you had a fire or a flood. In the case of a fire, it is the easiest way to get the rest of the soot and dirt out. In the case of a flood, it is the best way to make sure mold doesn't start to grow in your floors. Even if you think the carpets have dried, you may still develop mold down the road, so think about this one carefully.
3. Take Some Time. You may need to take some time to process everything. If this is a possibility, then do so. There is nothing wrong with taking a little bit of time to get everything in order before you start to rebuild.
4. Remodel. Depending on how severe the damage was, you may have to rebuild parts of your property anyway. This is a perfect reason to do any remodeling work that you may have been tossing around. Redo that bathroom you had been looking at, knock out that odd wall in the basement, get a new color of paint. It makes more sense to do it now as opposed to redoing exactly what you had and changing things around later.
While things like floods and fires are life changing and may cause an extreme amount of damage, they don't have to be considered all bad. As long as everyone make it out okay, most things can be replaced. Remember to try and look at the positive side of things and work towards making everything better than it was before.

How to Prevent a Flood

Charlotte Properties
The spring and summer normally brings quite a bit of rain. While this is normally good for plants and lowered river levels, too much rain can be a problem as well. Even if you are not in a flood zone, getting large amounts of rain can be an issue for your property. Here are a few tips that you can use to help prevent damage to your rental property due to flooding.
1. Clear Storm Drains. If you have any storm drains on or near your property, make sure that they are nice and clear of any debris such as leaves or twigs or rocks. This is your first line of defense against rising water, so you want to do all you can to help it do its job. If you know a large storm is coming, walk around and make sure that all of these are clean so the water can be funneled out from your area.
2. Keep A List. Tell your residents to keep a list of anything important and the price these things cost. This will help in the event of an insurance claim. You should keep a list of everyone living in your rental property and their phone numbers so that you can get a hold of them and make sure they are okay as well.
3. Keep Supplies. Both you and your residents should keep certain supplies in case the flooding gets severe. This should include drinking water, non-perishable food, flashlights, and a battery powered radio. You should also make sure to have a first aid kit on hand just in case someone does get hurt.
4. Gutters and Ditches. If you can, make sure that the gutters are clean before a storm. This will help to prevent localized flooding and leaks. Also, some people dig small ditches where they know it floods in an attempt to drain the water back into the ground and away from the building.
Flooding is never a fun thing to have to deal with. It can be rather frightening and can change your life if severe enough. With these tips, though, you may just be able to help lessen any damage that may be done by the onslaught of water from the sky. Remember to keep an eye on the weather so these things don't take you by surprise!

Having Your Tenant on a Short Lease

Charlotte Properties
For some people, a long term lease is not something that they can really commit to. There may be many different reasons for this and not all of them are bad. I remember I had a friend back in grade school whose father moved for work every two years or so. I met her in Pennsylvania and before we lost contact she had moved from there to Texas, then to Georgia, and then to Colorado and away again within five or six years. They always had nice townhomes in developments, but the constant relocation meant they never knew how long they would be in one place. For example, she stayed in Colorado for less than seven months while she was in Georgia for three years. A situation like this is exactly why it would be nearly impossible for her family to have entered into a set lease, as they never knew when they would be moved again.
While short leases aren't normally a great trade for you as a landlord, sometimes it can be difficult for a tenant to find what they need in a world of yearlong leases. With situations like these, it can sometimes pay to be a little flexible with the length of your leases. I can only imagine that they used to have a month to month lease when they moved into a new place, as it would have been impossible for him to figure out when he would be relocated again. Granted I knew them, but in a case like his I can't imagine why a landlord wouldn't have been okay with having a shorter lease. They were certainly a great family and always had a great time together, wherever they were. Sometimes you just need to follow the work, whatever that work may be.
Getting a call from a tenant like this may be stressful, but it isn't something to run away from if you can confirm that they need a shorter lease for something like work. Certainly having them list previous landlords will help to assure you that they will always come through with the rent, but we can also understand a concern or two on your end. This would come down to being your call, but we say you shouldn't count someone out just because they need a shorter lease.

Temporary Renting

Charlotte Properties
Very often, we find that people are wondering about renting out their apartment or rental property to apps like AirBNB. While we are not going to tell you not to do this, there are a couple of things we want you to think of first. Here are some of the pros and cons to renting out your area for shorter periods of time.
Pros:
1. Quick Turnover. If you happen to get a tenant in your property that you don't really like, then you know they are never going to stay there long. This means that you will be able to wash your hands of those people and move on to a better resident for the next time.
2. Reviews. Situations like these rental apps allow you to review tenants as well as get reviewed as a landlord. This is true whether you stay in the building while your visitors are there or not. As a landlord that has a long term lease, you may have people review you but it won't reach as many people and may not help others to find out who the bad tenants are.
Cons:
1. No Lease. While it may at first seem like this would be a good thing, as leases are expensive and tedious, this also means that there is little recourse in the event that something ends up happening. If you have a long term renter, you get to keep their security deposit. However, if something happens and you are only renting through an app like this, you won't have the same protections that a lease provides.
2. Not Consistent. Having a rental through an app like this, while great for vacation areas during the travel months, is not a consistent source of income like a long term lease is. If you have someone renting for a full year, you know that you likely have income for the full year. If you are only renting a few days at a time, there is no assurance that you will have someone stay there the whole time.
While temporary renting may be good in between other tenants, you really do need to take into account all of the possible outcomes. We only hope that you figure out what will work best for you.

What Happens When Your Tenant Passes Away?

Charlotte Properties
While this is certainly something you never want to have to worry about, it is something that you should probably have a plan for. Unfortunately, tragedy can strike anyone at any time and although you have a lower chance of having to deal with this if you rent to a younger person or family, you never really know what is going to happen. This is why we always suggest that you have a plan put in place for what will happen if you are renting to someone who passes away.
When I was a teenager, my grandfather passed away. My mother and I were staying with him at the time, as he needed 24/7 care. He lived in a house trailer on rented land which he paid twice a year, in April and in October. When he passed, it was January and so his rent was paid up through April. The man in charge of the land told us on the day he passed away that we had less than a week to get out of the trailer with everything as we were not on the lease and this was his policy. While not every landlord will have this view, each person should have some idea of what they will do if a situation like this were to occur.
Letting a family member stay in the apartment through to the end of the lease to sort out your tenants affairs may open you up to issues if something were to happen to them, however if you have ever tried to take care of the estate of someone who has passed you know how difficult this task is. This is why it is important to form your own view and plan, as each person has a different situation. If you are alerted to a situation where an elderly or severely injured person is being taken care of, then you should always go over the policy with their caretaker so that they are not taken by surprise while still grieving.
Although death is always an upsetting thing to think about, as a landlord you never know what is going to happen. Even if only one of your tenants passes in a multiple named lease, you should have an idea of what you will do. Sometimes there are good reasons to let a lease break.

Reasons to Break a Lease

Charlotte Properties
As a landlord, one of the last things that you want to hear is that your tenant is going to break the lease they have with you. However, sometimes this is an unavoidable situation for both you and your tenant. I know that I have never wanted to break a lease, however sometimes it has happened for one reason or another. Here are a few reasons that you may want to offer an option to break a lease with your tenant.
1. Death. This is probably the number one reason to allow people to break a lease. Whether the death is that of your tenant, one of your tenants, or someone close to your tenants, death is something that really changes the game for everyone involved in that life. Sometimes people lose a family member and need to travel to take care of the estate or perhaps they have been left a different housing arrangement. Always have a plan about when death hits at least close to home for those on your lease.
2. Loss of Work. Sometimes, losing your job means the need to cut back. Unfortunately, this does sometimes mean the need to find a cheaper living situation. If your tenant has lost their job and can no longer afford the terms of your lease, you may be able to help out by allowing the lease to be broken and not continuing to charge them something they cannot afford.
3. Severe Illness of Injury. When someone gets sick or hurt, everything can change. Sometimes they need to stop working. Other times, medical bills can pile up to the point that any amount of income that doesn't go towards food needs to go to that so they can continue to be treated. If your tenant or someone close to your tenant has a situation like this, then you may see fit to break the lease you have. If your tenant needs to move to care for someone who has become disabled, then breaking the lease may be the best thing for all involved.
While it is always painful to break a lease, sometimes it is the best thing that you can do for your tenant. After all, if they cannot continue to pay their rent and are open about it, at least you know that they are responsible. You never know, perhaps if the issue that caused the lease to be broken is resolved, they may just come back.

Cheap Ways to Attract Residents

Charlotte Properties
One of the biggest struggles for someone who has a rental property is finding someone to live there. While everyone needs somewhere to live, you also need to remember that you aren't the only apartment in the area. There are hundreds, if not thousands of different places that are trying to find someone to live in them, just like you are. Sometimes your place gets taken off the market quickly, and others it can take seemingly forever to find a tenant. Here are a few ideas of how to find someone to live in your rental property for little money on your part.
1. Post Locally. Posting about an apartment in local businesses can really help out someone who is looking. You can always just ask someone if you can place some fliers or business cards in their work place. You may even help them out in turn by purchasing a small gift card for your future resident to their business location.
2. Put It Online. There are dozens of sites where you can post for free about different things. Sites like Craigslist are always popular for people to look for new housing arrangements and you can be certain that people are going to see your listing as long as you post it correctly. Posting it online also helps to bring it to more people as they do not have to be in the area when they look at your apartment online. I have been looking at certain apartments a few states away for friends and it is so wonderfully easy.
3. Word of Mouth. While this technique isn't used as much anymore, it has likely gotten me my next apartment. I mentioned to a friend that I was looking to move and they put me in touch with someone who had an empty apartment. You never know how useful your friends can be in helping you out when it comes to filling your rental property, so put some feelers out there for those who may need somewhere new.
These are three of the most obvious ways to try and get some new residents without paying an arm and a leg, but sometimes there is nothing wrong with trying the obvious ways first. In fact, they are well used for a reason. Let us know what other methods you have used and stick around for some more ideas.

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