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How to Protect Your Charleston Based Rental Property

Are you new to the Charleston renting scene? Are you new to Charleston? Just like any city, you need to be prepared for anything that could happen with your property and you need to know how to protect it. Keeping both your renters and your property safe needs to consistently be one of your top priorities. What are the best ways to go about doing this? 
Hello, readers! Welcome to the blog! We are Real Property Management Distinguished Care, Charleston’s leading property management company! Spring is here, and in no time at all Charleston will be teaming with new renters and tenants. The number of tenants and renters might be even more than Charleston is prepared for, because 2020 kept so many people from traveling and vacationing, many people will want to make up for lost time. As we are just about to step into what could become one of the busiest tourist seasons in the Lowcountry, it’s time to start finishing up your rentals repairs, finish up all the deep cleaning both inside and outside of your property, replace any broken pieces of furniture or appliances, and dedicate some time to any and all landscaping. Your rental is about to become one of the most popular destinations in the Charleston area!
When you own your own rental property, each of these last-minute tasks is constantly weighing on your thoughts, as you stress about how to get it all done in time. If you work with a property management company like ours, these necessary and important tasks are consistent thoughts that we think of and take care of, so you don’t have to. Not only do we take care of these tasks right before the busy season begins, but we also make sure to keep up with all of these services year-round. We are always helping our customer’s properties get ready for the next season ahead of us, preparing for how to deal with hurricanes, and working on how to help our clients make as much profit off of their rentals as they possibly can, with as little stress put on them as possible. Beyond these everyday worries, there is still a lot more that a renter and property management company needs to worry about. The main focus should be to protect your investment. What are some of the best ways to go about doing that?
  • Start With The Basics
A rental property can be an incredible moneymaker, but it can also be a big risk. Once the property is ready to rent, the insurance is in place, and your warranty is ready to go, you just need the perfect tenant. Having a bad tenant can become a nightmare for any property owner or management company. You could wind up with property damage, unpaid rent, angry neighbors, and more. It might feel a little strange at first, but one of the best ways to avoid getting caught in a situation like this is to do a background check for your long-term renters or tenants. Remember, your livelihood and reputation as a property owner depend on good tenants. Start with a basic online search and a credit check to view their credit score. Ask to speak with their employer and a few professional references. This will help you make sure your potential renter is reliable both at work and in real life. Finally, to take extra precautions, you can access criminal conviction databases in your state. If you feel this last search is necessary, then go ahead and do so. Remember that when working with a property management company like ours, we take care of all of this quickly and professionally so it is one less thing for you to worry about.
  • Safety First
Just like anything important in your life, you will need insurance to care for your rental property. Make sure when you’re in the market that you buy the exact plan you need. Living so close to the ocean as we do here in Charleston, means that flood and hurricane insurance is a must. Have you also considered making sure that other damages are also included in your coverage? Termites run rampant in Charleston and can chew up and spit out a house in no time. Having a great exterminator and a termite bond will be necessary, but what happens if that bond lapses on accident and termites move in? You’ll be left with a huge repair bill to pay out of pocket before getting any tenants back in. Why risk that? Remember that the insurance you’re used to dealing with is to cover owner-occupied properties (your home) not dealing with tenants and renters. This is one of the most important things to remember when it comes to choosing an insurance plan. You are picking a plan for a property you aren’t living in, you are picking a plan for renters and tenants. Renters insurance will protect you from property damage, loss of income if a tenant doesn’t or refuses to pay rent, and it will treat and protect your investment like a business. That’s right, your rental property is a business.
  • This Is A Business
Being a full-time property owner might not be your actual job title right now. Your rental property might not be your only job or source of income. No matter what you do professionally, you still need to treat your rental property as a business and respect it as such. It is a wonderful asset to have and it’s nice to have a place of your own to use for vacation. If you have purchased a property and want or need it to make money for you, it cannot be party central all year round for your friends and family members to enjoy. Once in a while, sure, but to make money you will need official tenants that pay a weekly or monthly rate. It is important that you create and establish good relationships and communication with your tenants, provide a safe and clean property with all promised amenities, and that you quickly take care of any complaint or damage. Have a plan for when a pipe breaks or the AC goes out. Have a plan for natural disasters and bad storms. Being prepared and offering the best service will provide years of happy and repeat tenants. This kind of care and attention does take time and can be a full-time job when you didn’t plan it to be. If you don’t have the time or energy to do all of this, we suggest working with a property management company like ours.
  • Patience Is A Virtue
When approaching your tenants after the year we have all gone through, you need to do so with a gentle and generous spirit. We can’t forget that this past year has been difficult for all of us. We are all adjusting and remembering how to interact with others again in any capacity. Make sure to approach any new tenant, long term or short term, with as much patience as possible. Keeping calm is important to help come off as professional as possible and to make sure your tenant feels welcomed and comfortable to rent from you and interact with you. Any bad experience you might put your tenant through when speaking or working with them might be used against you in the future. However, while you want to be kind, professional, and welcoming to your Charleston renters, you are not your renters or tenant’s friend. This is strictly a professional relationship and needs to be treated as such from both sides. There should always be an emphasis on professionalism with your Charleston rental property.
  • Keeping Track
Just as you would with any professional agreement, make sure to keep a written record of all your interactions with your Charleston-based renters and tenants. This doesn’t just include all of your contracts and agreements, but you need to hold onto all emails and any correspondence between you and any renter. This will cover your bases if anything happens to go wrong and you need to go back and physically find proof of what was said between the two of you. Also, don’t let a late payment or rule violation get swept away or put off. Take care of it right away and don’t let yourself be taken advantage of. Document the incident and then make sure to handle the situation right away. These documents will also help serve as a reminder or warning if a tenant is slacking in their cleanliness, respecting the neighbors, breaking any policies, or any other issues instead of having to bring up or take them to court. The more organized and detailed documents you can keep and provide, the better!
  • Basic Property Safety Tips
Overall, you want to keep your property as safe as possible, right? Of course! Theft prevention from outside predators and even from your tenants is something you need to keep in the forefront of your mind at all times. Here is a checklist of things to help keep your Charleston rental property safe!
  • Make sure all windows and doors have proper locks that are in working condition. Make sure everything is locked when you don’t have any tenants, and make it very clear to your tenants that any time they leave they have to lock the door behind them.
  • Don’t leave spare keys in obvious places. If anything, try to avoid using keys at all. Try using a smart keypad with a key code to get into your rental property. If you do so, make sure to change the code after every renter and make sure that they don’t share this info with anyone outside of their party renting from you.
  • Don’t keep any of your valuables in your rental, especially personal ones. Furnish and decorate with items only used and picked for the property itself.
  • Just like you would for your own home and your homeowner’s insurance, make sure to itemize everything in your rental. Make sure to have excellent renters insurance as well to cover everything your unique property will require.
  • Only use professional sites like Zillow or VRBO to advertise that your rental is available. Advertising all over social media can lead to strangers knowing that it’s empty and will make breaking in that much easier.
  • Make sure the parking you provide to your renters is as safe as possible. Remind your renters that they need to lock their cars to protect any valuables left behind. If anything is stolen out of their car after the fact, this isn’t your problem or responsibility.
  • Make sure you continue to check in on your tenants and their standing with your property. Make sure to check for any lease violations and to make sure they are carrying out their responsibilities as stated in their tenant contract.
  • Always keep an up-to-date record of all repairs and additions made to the property and make sure to keep up with inspections of the utilities and the property overall. This is important for the safety of your renters, the liability you hold as a property owner, and helps prevent any huge damage from happening to the property overall.
  • Always take any requests for repair or maintenance very seriously. While it might not sound like a big deal to you when a tenant calls to report an issue, a small problem could be the result of a much bigger problem that you’re not seeing.
  • When doing inspections, make sure to give your renter and tenant plenty of notice and still be respectful of their space. You don’t need to go digging through their personal space to do a full inspection!
  • Benefits of a Property Management Company
A professional guide, buffer, and support system are three big things that a professional management company like RPMDC will offer its clients, helping to eliminate as much stress as possible. Property management companies like ours become the middleman so you no longer have to be. We deal with the difficult and tricky parts of your rental and all you need to worry about is collecting your income every month. A property management company becomes a buffer between you and a renter. We take care of everything quickly and professionally for all parties involved. Working with a local property management company in Charleston will give you a ton of benefits, too! We know the laws and regulations of the area, we will always document any issues and keep all documents organized, and will enforce the lease and contract when it is needed. We will take care of screening your prospective clients to make sure you always end up in a positive situation and will take care of any evictions if that is needed.
There is so much that goes into protecting your investment rental property. This is just the tip of the iceberg before jumping into the legalese and paperwork needed to keep it up and running like a business. There is no doubt that rental properties are incredibly lucrative, but they are a huge responsibility. With this knowledge in mind, remember we are here to take all of it off of your plate if you so choose. If you would like to speak with us or to learn more, never hesitate to reach out. If there is a specific topic you’d like us to write a blog on or information you’d like to know more about, make sure to leave us a comment below. We look forward to making your rental dreams become a reality, Charleston! Take care!

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