Answers to your frequently asked questions
Are you licensed?
Yes- Nancy Braun, Owner and Property Manager for Carolina Property Management, LLC is licensed with the NC and SC Residential Real Estate Commissions as Broker in Charge. North Carolina requires property managers to have an active NC Real Estate License.
South Carolina has a separate limited license for property managers. Real estate brokers and salespeople may also be involved in property management. Property managers must be licensed under a "property manager-in-charge" or a "broker-in-charge."
A "property manager" is defined as an individual, who, for a fee, salary, or commission, or other valuable consideration or who with the intent or expectation of receiving compensation:
Negotiates or attempts to negotiate the rental or leasing of real estate or improvements thereon;
Lists or offers to list and provide services in connection with the leasing or rental of real estate or improvements thereon;
Advertises or otherwise holds himself out to the public as being engaged in any of the foregoing activities. A "property manager in charge" is the property manager who has responsibility for the actions of the associate property managers and who has responsibility and control over and liability for trust accounts.
Generally, residential property managers are not exempt from the requirement that they have either a property manager license or a broker license, even if they do not engage in leasing activities.
Are there any exceptions to the requirement that a property manager have a real estate broker's license or a property manager license?
YES. There are very limited exceptions to the requirement, including one for owners of property.
For more information about these and other South Carolina property management requirements and exceptions, please contact the South Carolina Real Estate Commission.
Before hiring a property manager to manage your South Carolina rental property, you should always check that he or she is licensed appropriately. You can check the license status of South Carolina property managers by referring to the state's online license verification service.
Continuing education requirements apply to all brokers.
Do I Need A Property Manager?
If you have purchased an investment property and are planning to rent it for commercial or residential purposes, you might want to consider a property manager. If you’re a first time investor, you may not realize how time consuming effectively managing that property can be - you may become overwhelmed in no time at all. Even if you’re a veteran investor, you may think you have enough experience to forgo the expense and manage things on your own, only to find out you’re completely in over your head. Both of these scenarios are fairly common, and a property manager can help you with operations of your property.
Property Requires Commitment
Think about the long-term commitment required of your property - management doesn’t stop with collecting rent. In fact, that alone can prove a headache you do not have the patience to deal with. A property manager can help you deal with the routine management and maintenance issues that will surface quite frequently, especially depending on the size and number of your investment property(s). Other aspects of the job that a property manager can help you with are the back end of operations- book-keeping, documentation, filing, forms, and portfolio management.
The Value of Your Time
If it’s true that time is money, a property manager can be invaluable. Most likely, you know better than anyone just how true this statement is. The majority of investors have more than one investment opportunity going at the same time, or are employing at a 9-5 job during the day. How in the world will you be able to be in two places at once? If this is the case, having a dedicated property manager that will free up your time to pursue your money making opportunities is not only a benefit, but a necessity!
Location of Your Property
You should also consider the geographic location of your investment property compared to where you spend most of your time - a property manager may be more accessible than your schedule or location allows. Even if you live in the same city, your property may be on the complete opposite side of town than your office or home, requiring a minimum of a 1-2 hour commute round trip. On the other hand, you may have invested in a property in another city or state. In both of these situations, it’s practically impossible to effectively manage the property(s) in a long-distance capacity. A property manager can be available to the tenant(s) 24/7, and will have quicker access to resources for emergency maintenance situations.
Property Management is a highly regulated field and subject to not only state and local laws but also Federal Laws including, American Disabilities Act and Fair Housing and most recently the Center of Disease Control.
How and when do I get my checks?Owners’ statements are made available online through your own, secure online account (via our website). We post your statement each month on the 15th and again at the end of the month to ensure accurate accounting and activity on your account. Your monthly statement details all income and expenses related to your rental properties. Please note: We do not mail monthly statements.
How do you market your rental properties in Charlotte?We are committed to offering you the most advanced advertising methods for your rental property. Our listings are featured on MLS Social Media and dozens of high traffic websites with the following features:
- Professional Photography
- Video tours
- Signage at property
- Dynamic links in web listings
- Real-time lead alerts sent to our staff
- Email and text blasts to over 10,000 prospective tenants in our database
- 3D Virtual Tour *
- Virtual Staging*
- Floor Plans*
How much time will it take to find a tenant for my Charlotte rental property?While each property is different, we make a concerted effort to fill properties expeditiously. Tracking our marketing leads and constantly evaluating the rental market ensures that our prices are competitive and fair. We know that quick turnovers are important to our owners, but we are also committed to filling our units with quality tenants. Once we do receive an application for your rental property, we are typically able to process the completed application within 24-48 hours, and will follow up with you for approval once the application has been processed.
What factors do you consider when doing a rental market analysis??We consider many factors as we formulate a viable marketing strategy for your rental property. We continually gather and analyze local and national market data that directly and indirectly impacts all aspects of your property. Data points that we consider include:
- Vacancy rates
- Rental inventory levels
- High, average, and low rent prices
- Updates and unique features to the Property
What information do you request from a tenant applicant?Our background check screens each potential tenant in the following categories:
- Credit check
- Public record search
- Criminal background check
- Income verification
- Employment verification
- Rental history; we contact the previous landlords and ask a series of critical questions about the tenant
- Pet and support or service animal Screening
Can you put the money directly into my account?Yes, if you prefer ACH we can assist you with setting this up on our online platform.
What do we do if the property does not rent in a few weeks?
We offer a Rental Guarantee. If we do not secure a tenant within 3 weeks after the initial marketing, we will waive our first month’s management fee. This assumes a prospective tenant meets our minimum qualifying guidelines (minimum FICO score of 600, minimum verified gross income at least 3 times the monthly rent and a clean rental/mortgage history for the previous 12 months).
Even if we do not secure a tenant in the first 60 days, we will continue to market until we find a suitable tenant. If your property is getting adequate exposure through the MLS and the general public is not moving ahead with applications, it is most likely priced too high. It is critical not to ask for rent based on what your total monthly cost is to carry the property (mortgage, taxes, insurance, etc.), what your neighbor’s tenant may be paying or what you read on the internet. The market of supply and demand determines your rent and very little else.
Do you sell real estate too?Yes, the Broker in Charge, Nancy Braun also owns Showcase Realty, LLC which services buyers and sellers in residential and commercial real estate. www.ShowcaseRealty.net. Nancy has been a broker for over 25 years and she has a team of qualified and trained agents and she has personally serviced over 5,000 families over her career. We can assist with portfolio liquidation, strategic purchases, refinancing and 1031 exchanges. We have qualified investors who purchase properties in their as-is condition with tenants in place. We can also market your properties after repaired to receive highest ARV (after repaired value).
When can I expect to get paid my rent proceeds?
We know how important your rent proceeds are, and we want to get your money to you as quickly as possible. Rent proceeds are deposited directly into your bank account on the 15th day of the month (or on the next business day if the 15th falls on a weekend/holiday). Your monthly statement is also available through your online account at that time.
If for whatever reason, a tenant is late or rent proceeds are collected after our accounting deadline for payout on the 15th, you will be paid your proceeds the following month. Please note: We do not mail checks.
What is the initial inspection?
Whether vacant or occupied, we want to understand your property and be able to speak intelligently about it to you and your tenants in the future. We will meet you at the property if you wish at your earliest convenience to view your rental and complete the initial property inspection.
We will take photos, answer any questions you may have in person, install a rental sign if requested and place a lockbox on the door. We will also give you suggestions on how to make your property “rent ready” if it is not already in that condition.
What if I want to cancel management?With our Commitment-Free Management Program, we do not hold you to a contract. If at any time, you wish to cancel your agreement with Carolina Property Management, LLC, just send us a written request to our office stating you wish to cancel; it’s that easy. The cancellation will become effective 30 days from receipt of the written notice.
Should I repaint the interior between residents?Almost always, yes! You want your property to attract the top quality residents. The best residents can rent anywhere they want, so the key is to make your unit as attractive as possible so that they rent from us and stay. A small investment like fresh paint can pay dividends in the future in the form of on-time payments and a long term resident. If a fresh paint job has recently been done, it may not be necessary.
How is rent collection handled?Our residents pay their rent on or before the 5th day of the Month their rent via our user friendly on-line portal. 99% Percentage of rent due that we collect each month. This is due to a very tight applicant screening process, a time-tested internal collection process, and the fact that we have a full-time Director of Accounting whose job is to ensure our residents pay on-time each month. Even during 2020 Pandemic we have had 100% rent received from our residents when the industry has experienced 70% or less rent paid.
How long of a lease do you sign?One Year Leases.
How much security deposit do you charge the resident?
1-2 months depending on credit/application and/or pets. The North Carolina Tenant Security Deposit Act (the “Act”) sets out the rights and responsibilities of residential tenants, landlords, and their agents regarding tenant security deposits. If your agreement with the landlord is to rent his property on a week-to-week basis, your deposit may not exceed the equivalent of two weeks’ rent. If you’re renting on a month-to-month basis, your deposit cannot be more than 1 1/2 months’ rent. And, if your rental period is greater than month-to-month, your deposit cannot be more than two months’ rent.
South Carolina does not have a maximum amount the security deposit can be.
Who holds the resident security deposit?We hold the security deposit in a Trust Account with a FDIC insured National bank.To ensure that your security deposit is safe during the period of your tenancy, State law requires the landlord or property manager to keep it in a “trust account.” A trust account is simply a bank account designated as “trust” or “escrow” that does not contain any of the landlord’s or broker’s personal funds. The trust account must be maintained in a licensed and insured bank or savings and loan institution licensed in North Carolina. Within 30 days following the beginning of your lease term, the landlord or agent must notify you in writing where your security deposit has been placed (typically, this notification is given in the lease). If your security deposit is moved to a different bank or savings and loan during your tenancy, you must be notified in writing of the new location.
How often are inspections done at my property?Before a new resident moves into your property, we engage a 3rd party vendor to complete a detailed move-in checklist and extensive photos and video, which provides written documentation as to the condition of your property. In addition the vendor will check the smoke and CO2 detectors, replace batteries or detectors if needed, install missing door stops, replace dirty HVAC filters.
How do you handle maintenance requests?Residents may phone, fax, or mail their requests to us, and they can request maintenance online at our website. After we receive a repair request, we may contact the resident and ask them questions, which will help us determine the exact nature of the problem before sending a service technician. If the resident has a legitimate problem, we will schedule the repair. Most repairs are scheduled within one business day. Comfort items such as air conditioning, no hot water or heat, receive the highest priority and are usually attended to the same or next business day.
What needs to be done to my rental property before it is ready for a new resident?The better condition a home is in, the better quality tenant it will attract. The following are recommended steps to prepare your property:
- The carpets should be freshly cleaned and all debris and personal belongings removed from the house. If the carpets are worn or badly stained, they should be replaced. We recommend luxury wood like vinyl planks in lieu of carpet to withstand wear and tear and is visually much nicer.
- It is not always necessary to paint between residents, however, it is important to provide tenants with clean well cared for housing. If walls are damaged, they should be repaired. If paint is worn or marred it should be refreshed with a new coat.
- The tenants are requested to maintain the yard in the condition it is provided to them. Therefore, the yard should be freshly mowed, weeded, trimmed and the leaves and debris removed. It is commonly recommended that the owner retain a landscaper or lawn service in order to control the external appearance and upkeep of the property.
We are happy to discuss any necessary repairs or maintenance concerns with you. We have experience with cost effective ways to provide the best care for a property and we know what most tenants are looking for.
Can I prohibit pets in the property?Pet owners are not a protected class. However, by eliminating them, you are reducing your resident pool by 70%. Being open to pets makes your property available to more potential residents. We require all of our residents to complete the screening process via www.petscreening.com Support and Service animals are protected and must be allowed and we must make accommodations.
Can I prohibit smoking in the property?Yes, all of our properties are smoke free and this policy is in our lease agreement.
Can I prohibit children in the property?Fair Housing Law includes children under the protected class of “familial status” and cannot be precluded from being a resident in our properties.
Can I do the repairs myself?
Yes and No. Most of our owners direct Carolina Property Management to handle all repairs; because of our volume, we get discounted rates and we have a long list of professionals who can jump right on the job and get it done. As a result of this, we have developed systems so that these repairs are done timely, cost effective, and with professional workmanship. So when an owner requests to do work, it’s outside of our systems and the opportunity for error is greater.
With that said, we have had some owners that are professional tradesmen, such as an owner of a heating and cooling company. In this case, it makes sense to utilize the property owner’s own company to service their rental property. In these cases, we do require all of the paperwork to include licenses and insurances as we do from all of our other vendors. However, in the case of an afterhours call, we cannot guarantee that the owner or owner’s company will be called, as these calls are made afterhours and we do not always have access to the computer system or the urgency of the repair may necessitate that we call our vendor. In such event, they will call our primary on-call vendor.
Can I use my own contractors for repairs?
Yes and No. Over the past, we have put many contractors to the test. Cost is always important, but as you know, sometimes you get what you pay for. So the contractors we use now, have proven to provide low costs and quality workmanship.
Most of our contractors are small companies with little overhead. We believe that this is how we can keep costs down as well as ensure quality of workmanship. Also, we give them a lot of work, so we typically get better pricing than anyone else. We are always willing to try someone new to put them through the test. However, we do require that they have all appropriate licenses and registrations, complete a w-9, have worker’s compensation insurance, and have a general liability insurance policy.
If we and the property owner agree to test out their contractor, the instructions need to come through our office. We have a work order system and if we do anything outside of the system, things can go wrong.
Does retaining a management company mean I won't have any problems with my property?
NO! If you own rental property then over a period of time you will have problems of one sort or another. Whether the problems are related to maintaining the property or dealing with the tenant there will be problems that need to be resolved. Retaining Carolina Property Management to manage your property will eliminate some but not all potential problems.
Our experience will help reduce the number of problems related to rental property. Those problems that can't be avoided must be solved. Our expertise will help reduce the aggravation and potentially higher expenses related to solving these problems. We can't keep all bad things from happening but we can handle solving the problem for you so that you don't have to handle it yourself.
How do you advertise my property?
Signs: Yard signs are the least expensive form of advertising, yet very effective, which is why we post our signs on the properties the moment notice is received by the tenant.
Web site: Our web address is posted on every sign, form, and ad that we have. The Internet is far-reaching and assists in bringing us highly qualified tenants. Our internet advertising posts all available rentals to over a hundred websites and the top rental search engines.
Social Media: We strategically market our properties to prospective tenants on the leading social media platforms.
Our Data Base: We have 1,000s of prospective residents in our data base, tenants in waiting. NancyhastheTenants.com post the property on our local MLS
How do you check the applicant's credit/reference history?
One of the most important aspects of making your experience as a Landlord rewarding is placing the right tenant in your property. While no one can discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, age, national origin, or familial status we can decline applicants on the basis of credit and rental history.
Once we have an application generated from our marketing efforts we conduct a detailed background check on the applicants. Some applicants can be very deceptive, even to the point of having friends or family members pose as former landlords or employers so that the information sounds good to the landlord conducting the background check.
To reduce the possibility of being deceived by an applicant, Carolina Property Management uses a multi-tiered background check to cross-reference each applicant. Our background checks consist of:
- We request a picture ID of the applicant.
- We pull a copy of their credit report including their FICO score.
- We check to see if the applicant has had a Forcible Entry & Detainer/Eviction filed against them.
- We get copies of their paystubs and contact their employer to confirm their source of income. If they are self-employed we ask for copies of their tax return.
- We confirm their landlord reference or residency history (mortgage payments).
A thorough background check is crucial to avoid costly mistakes with your property. A bad tenant can be a very expensive ordeal due to lost rent; extra time spent having to deal with them, and damage to the property. While no background check can eliminate the risk of a problem tenant, our thorough examination of their rental history can significantly reduce your risk.
How do you determine the rental rate?We have access to listings information on many more units and the internet. After inspecting your home we can make recommendations to you on items that might enhance your home’s value. Once we know your home and your goals we can use our knowledge of the current market situation to recommend a rental rate. It's your property- we recommend and you decide.
How long have you been in business?Carolina Property Management was started in 2008.
How long of a lease should we sign?The term of the lease can depend on the property owners own needs. But if the rental is an investment property, the property owner is typically going to want a 12 month lease. However, the time of the year does play a factor. For example, if Carolina Property Management fills the vacancy in November, a 12-month lease would end in December and if the tenants decide not to renew the lease, the property owner is looking at filling a vacancy in the worse month possible. So we encourage leases to expire in any months outside of September, October, November, December, and January.
How long will it take to rent my property?We will recommend a rental rate and terms that we think will attract a qualified tenant within 30 days. Market conditions vary and we can't make any guarantees as to when we will get a qualified applicant. Some properties lease immediately. Others take longer. We will provide you with updates as we receive feedback from the market so that we can modify the price or terms if necessary.
What needs to be done to my rental property before it is ready for a new resident?
We charge 8.99% of the amount we collect from the tenant as our management fee. There is no minimum monthly fee. If you don't get paid - we don't get paid! We email your statement and pay you via direct deposit. If you would like paper statements and printed checks, your management fee will be an additional 1% higher.
Rather than trying to beat everyone else’s price, we focus on beating everyone else’s service! Our actions speak for themselves. We manage your property as if it were our own!
Some important items to consider when comparing our fee structure to any other management company:
- No hidden fees, everything is explained up front
- No termination fees
How will you advertise/market my property?Almost all of our applicants tell us they found the house on the internet. Carolina Property Management posts properties on several national web sites (Rentals.com, Hotpads just to name a few) in addition to our own site. We also use signs and Google to promote properties we manage.
What happens if the tenant doesn't pay the rent?
In our lease form we give the tenant a 5 day grace period to pay the rent on time. On the 6th we tell the computer to post late fees for any tenants that have not paid yet. If the tenant has not paid by the 15th day of the month (or the next business day thereafter) then a "Day Notice to Pay or Quit” is generated and sent to the residents.
If we still haven't received the rent within 3 days of the posting, depending on the particular circumstances with each tenant, we start filing the Eviction. We have a law firm manage the filing. As needed we will go to court, and if necessary, meet the sheriff at the property with a crew to remove the tenant and their things from the property. Why the tenant cannot pay the rent is not really relevant. We can help tenants with legitimate problems find help from different charitable organizations. But we are retained by you to protect your interests. If the tenant cannot pay the rent we need to find a new tenant that can.
*Covid or other Restrictions may supersede eviction proceedings/filings
What happens if the tenant has a maintenance problem?
The tenant contacts us to report all maintenance problems. We can be reached any time, day or night, including holidays.
In the management agreement you set a "repair limit" which tells us when, based on the estimated cost of the repair, you want to be involved in handling a maintenance problem. For non-emergencies, we will contact you first or we will handle the repair on your behalf depending on the repair limit you set. Please note that this repair limit is based on non-emergency repairs. We will handle emergencies immediately, based on our judgment and experience, to protect your property and/or tenants from suffering any further damage.
What is the reserve money for?Carolina Property Management requires reserves for each of the properties managed. The reserve funds are there so that repairs and bills can be paid after rents have been dispersed.
What is the setup fee?Carolina Property Management doesn't just add your property to our list of properties managed. We devote numerous hours into the setup of your property. We could list about 100 things we do during the set up, but let’s just list some of the major things that actually create value and can save the property owner money. For one, we conduct an interior and exterior inspection of the property. We will advise and get bids on any repairs or maintenance needed to get the property market ready. Additionally, we set up Landlord Service Agreements with all the utility companies, if available, that save our owner’s money upon turnovers. We register the property with the county if required. We take interior, exterior photos and videos to document the condition of the property and for marketing.
What type of insurance do I need?Be sure to communicate with your insurance agent that the property is a non-owner occupied rental property. There are additional riders and coverage’s that do not cost much that provide you with added coverage. The most important is the ability to recover lost rents. A common example is a severe water loss or fire, which requires the tenants to vacate in order to make the necessary repairs. With the proper coverage, your insurance company will cover the damages plus the lost rents, as well as the tenant’s temporary housing costs. Be sure Carolina Property Management, LLC is named “additional insured” on the policy. Advise us if the policy has any pet restrictions.
Who collects the rent? When do I get paid?
The tenant makes all payments to Carolina Property Management. The security deposits are maintained in an escrow account.
Carolina Property Management exerts all of its energy the first week of each month on collecting rents. Adhering to trust accounting requirements, we must let rent checks season before dispersing funds to the owner. Therefore Carolina holds off on completing owner statements and depositing funds directly into our property owner’s accounts typically until after the 15th of each month. Additionally, if Carolina pays any bills on your behalf, we generally do these between the 1st and 10th of the month, as we need the rent money to make those payments.
We will deduct our management fee and any other expenses and we send the balance to you. We do our best to send out statements by the 15th of each month (or the next business day thereafter). We will deposit the money directly into your bank account (direct deposit) or for an additional fee we can mail you a check with the statement.
Who keeps the late fees?Collecting late rent is a very difficult job. We could actually get away with less work if all tenants paid their rent on time. And if tenants would just communicate when they don’t pay their rent on time, it would be a lot easier. But as it is, we have to turn into debt collectors and begin a very aggressive regiment to collect money on behalf of our property owners. So, Carolina Property Management retains all late fees to help pay for this extra and unpleasant labor.
Who pays for advertising?Carolina Property Management pays these expenses. When we are marketing a property for a new tenant the owner will pay ½ of month’s rent for our marketing fee.