A lot of the self-managing landlords who hesitate to hire professional Charleston property managers are worried that the management fees they pay to a company will take away from their cash flow and their long-term ROI.
We understand that concern, but it’s important to know that professional management actually saves you money in many different ways. With professional Charleston property management, you have fewer vacancy days, better maintenance rates, and better protection against expenses such as eviction and turnovers.
More importantly, property management protects you from expensive mistakes. Today, we’re discussing some of the errors we frequently see individual landlords make, and the cost is much higher than any monthly management fee.
Lack of Local Market Knowledge When Pricing a Rental Home
Your property’s rental value will depend largely on the Charleston rental market. Many landlords neglect to look at what similar homes are renting for, and they overprice or underprice their rental property, resulting in lost money. A home that’s underpriced will not earn you what it could be earning in monthly rent. It will be harder to bring that rental value up to market rates because a huge rental increase at renewal time will only chase away your tenants. An overpriced property is also expensive. It will result in a longer vacancy period, and that’s far more expensive than what you’d pay a professional management company to lease your property.
Get to know the competition on the market before you price your home, and consider your property’s location and condition. Don’t make the mistake of overpricing. You’ll lose money and attract tenants who aren’t qualified.
Inconsistent or Incomplete Tenant Screening
Renting to someone because he seems like a good guy is dangerous. You have to screen each applicant thoroughly and consistently. A professional property manager will have a set of written rental criteria in place to ensure the standards are met before a tenant is approved. You’ll want to check income and employment, look for past evictions or criminal convictions, and always talk to current and former landlords.
Neglecting to screen tenants is a big mistake. Don’t place someone in your property because they drive a nice car or you like talking to them. It could result in unpaid rent, property damage, eviction, and other expenses that are far more than a property management fee.
Understanding and Complying with Fair Housing Laws
Landlords who don’t know the fair housing laws are in danger of making huge mistakes when they’re advertising, screening, and even collecting rent and enforcing the lease. You need to know the fair housing laws on a federal, state, and even local level. Otherwise, you could be accused of fair housing violations, and you probably won’t even realize you’ve done something wrong. This is where professional property management can help. Your property manager knows the law and can keep you in compliance. Fair housing fines are thousands of dollars, and it’s easy to make an error. Rejecting a tenant with an emotional support animal because you don’t allow pets can get you into some expensive trouble, for example. Or, telling a potential applicant that there are churches in the neighborhood or dissuading someone from applying because there’s nowhere for their children to play can land you in a lawsuit.
Professional property management is affordable, tax-deductible, and a great value. To learn more, please contact us at Charleston Home Rentals.