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Charlotte Property Management Blog

Sustaining, Maintaining or Building: Beyond sustaining

Sherkica McIntyre - Monday, June 19, 2017

In the first article of this series, we agreed that sustaining is no way to Build your Empire. Next, we effectively established that once you find what works for you, then perfect your method—marketing, locating renters, maintenance routine, and financial obligations and priorities are established, to name a few keys—you’re ready to set your sights on the ultimate goal…BUILDING.

You may be thinking, “Building an empire sounds so grandiose. I just want to invest and secure my/my family’s financial future.” We don’t mean to indicate that anything short of BUILDING AN EMPIRE is small time. Nothing of the sort. However, we don’t want you thinking that good enough, is…good enough. Especially, when you have it within your means, opportunity, and practice to have your portfolio and the success that it indicates reach EMPIRE level. Real estate can make you a millionaire.

That last assertion isn’t one of late night hawkers of some fly-by-night get rich scheme on your local cable channel. It is an unequivocal fact that real estate is a powerful wealth building tool that has made many a savvy investor, millionaires. There’s a catch, though. Not everyone that invests becomes a millionaire, or even a lesser level of wealthy. For some, they find their foray into investment real estate ends with stress, empty bank accounts and regret. They end up struggling, for years, never experiencing the success they dreamed of nor building the wealth that they’ve risked everything, in some cases, to attain.

So, how do you avoid the pitfalls and experience the triumphs? Carod and industry experts proffer that there are essentially 4 wealth generators that, if adhered to and mastered, are the key to winning in the real estate game and essentially BUILD your EMPIRE:

  1. Cash Flow. You have to think bigger and more detailed than rent collected is cash flow. Constantly be mindful and duty bound to account for the fluctuation in non-monthly but regular costs/expenses like: vacancy, repairs, and capital expenditures (replacements items like roof, appliances, plumbing, etc.). Keep these things in mind, along with regular monthly expenses as a vital way to maintain consistent cash flow and build.
  2. Appreciation. “Appreciation” is when the value of your property increases. Historically, in America, property value increases annually on average 3%. While this is not guaranteed therefore not reliable, there is another form of appreciation that can assure your property’s value will increase, and therefore should definitely be a part of your investment strategy. “Forced Appreciation” is the concept of increasing the value by physically improving the property. In other words, the increase of your property’s value—and in turn bettering your investment…BUILDING—is wholly in your hands. Listen to the experts, make smart financial decisions and the BUILDING will take care of itself.
  3. Low Pay-Down. As you collect rent, you take care of your mortgage and maybe even retain some funds. Over time, the property will be paid for from the tenant paying your mortgage, building wealth automatically. To make this concept clearer, pretend for a moment you owned a property that you bought for $1,000,000 with a mortgage for $800,000, and it made $0 in cash flow (it “broke even”) and never climbed in value. However, after that thirty-year mortgage is paid off, you’ll now have a property worth $1,000,000 that you didn’t actually save for. Your tenant paid it off due to the “loan pay-down.”
  4. Tax Benefits. The final wealth generator, with regard to real estate, are the tax benefits associated with owning property. The U.S. government favors real estate investors and uses the tax system to encourage the purchase and leasing of properties. From extra tax write-offs to the lack of “self-employment tax” to the 1031-exchange and more, real estate investors can pay significantly less tax than other business owners, using the extra cash to buy more properties or pay of the loan faster—helping to build greater wealth.

Once you’ve decided the one property was just the start, then moved on to truly building your business and increasing the number of properties in your portfolio, the sky is the limit. Because then, you can work with the experts, and learn to perfect your methodology and repeat your individual recipe for success. The only thing that is preventing it, is you. Your Empire is waiting and, so are we. Call Carod Properties, today, to get started! 1-877-62-CAROD

By: Alicia M. Caldwell, AMC Literary Services

Why Are You Still Renting? How to overcome the obstacles on your pathway to ownership

Sherkica McIntyre - Monday, June 12, 2017

In the second part of this series, we tackled the down payment. We discussed how many potential home buyers let the obstacle of an appropriate down payment become an insurmountable obstacle to purchasing. However, that is not the only reason some continue renting instead of buying, though that is their ultimate goal. One thing experts hear, time and time again, is fear that life will change. Well, of course it will. What’s your point?

To be clear, we don’t mean that there are feelings of once you by a home, your life will change. Certainly there are those that fear that major step, especially after being a renter for an extended amount of time. Some only know renting. Their parents were renters, and they’ve only rented, as adults. So, yes, there’s trepidation in the level of commitment…adulting that takes place once you go from rent to mortgage. But, the “life changing” that we’re speaking of, is the fear that something in life will change to make you regret buying a home. For example, a loss of job, an unexpected pregnancy, change in the market and thusly your property value.

Let’s combat those 3 instances, one-by-one, that we may evaluate why renting rather than purchasing is not always a good reason to forego buying a home.

  1. Unemployment. There are few instances where losing your job would not be cause for concern. Rent vs mortgage would not change the fact there would be tough times ahead, unless your savings planned for such instances. To combat this fear, saving should be a way of life. There are also insurances you can purchase, as a homeowner, that help in times of job loss. That pesky duck squawks about it quite often on many channels.
  2. Unexpected Pregnancy. There’s no way around it, babies aren’t cheap. It’s true a surprise baby can catch you off guard, financially. However, mortgage payments vs rent payments are often comparable amounts. The “what ifs” of life are always going to be a reason not to many things. Being ruled by fear will make your dream of homeownership falsely out of your reach. To combat this, again, develop your savings plan and stick to it. Make yourself a budget with built-in home expenses, unexpected costs, life changes and anything you can think. It may not be easy, but it can be done.
  3. Housing Market Shift. The market changes. It does, so just expect it. Whether you’re buying a starter home or your forever home, it is a genuine concern. You can’t plan for it. A competent realtor like the ones at Carod Properties, can tell you all of the things that affect property values and it would be overwhelming. But, it would also show you that, like “life changing,” you can’t guard against it, only plan for it and be prepared. If you run into a situation where you need to sell, it may not be feasible at the exact time you want to sell. But, just like the market may change after you buy, it will change again and allow you to sell, if need be.

Saying that you’ve been renting because of the fear of “life changing” is illogical. The error in that faulty thinking is that it’s easier to get out of lease than it is to get out of a mortgage, when life changes. That is a naive premise. It may be easier, but there are still consequences…legal and financial. Consequences that don’t just go away because you find another lessor willing to take a chance on you. By no means are we suggesting that you take the step of buying a home before you’re ready. What we sincerely believe at Carod Properties, is that if you are financially secure (which means: credit worthy, savings, contingency, and a plan) then YOU ARE READY TO BUY. And, we’re waiting on your call. 1-877-62-CAROD

By: Alicia M. Caldwell, AMC Literary Services

Sustaining, Maintaining or Building: Beyond sustaining

Sherkica McIntyre - Wednesday, May 31, 2017

In the first article of this series, we suggested that you ask yourself the question, “What is your ultimate goal?” We further advised that if the answer to that question was not “to build,” we needed to have a serious discussion. Well, the discussion has begun. And, hopefully, we do not need to revisit the topic of “sustaining”. [To refresh your memory: to sustain is to hold and maintain is to cultivate that which you already have, and building is where we’re headed.] So, before we get to the building, let’s take time to explore maintaining.

If you are maintaining that which you’ve already achieved, kudos to you! That may surprise you since we’re advising that your thoughts should be higher. But, to conceive of an initial real estate goal/dream and actually take the steps to make it happen is not to be taken lightly. By all means, revel in your accomplishment…then, put the process on repeat. Wait, not yet! You must crawl before you walk. You need to make sure you solidify your investment strategy, almost to the point of perfection, before moving on to bigger and better. It’s like sports. You don’t practice and practice, day after day, the improper technique. You learn the proper technique, then perfect it, and build once it’s second nature.

So, how can I perfect the maintaining phase of BUILDING my EMPIRE? Glad you asked.

  • Self-assessment. Make yourself a checklist to hold yourself accountable of goals. (Ex: am I on top of rent collection; do I file all paperwork, internally and externally, in a timely manner; how efficient is my filing system of important real estate documents; how regularly do I evaluate best practices for marketing, property maintenance, inspections, etc.?)
  • Don’t be your only judge of how well you’re doing. One of the most important factors to implement into your plans is finding an accountability partner. Someone who can see things with fresh, external, professional eyes and help you get and stay on track, as well as build.
  • Don’t be afraid to tweak what’s not working. Logic says, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. That’s not logic that leads to bigger and better. It’s certainly not the thinking of someone that knows that an Empire is possible. It is important, before you move on to the next rung of the ladder, that you assess what’s working. If it’s not working, fix it. If it is, assess if it could be working better. This may take professional review, but that’s ok. Carod Properties has made itself a force in the industry by providing invaluable assistance, just like that.
  • Give yourself time. Though setting timelines helps us stay accountable, motivated, and moving forward, don’t be so strict with yourself that meeting that timeline becomes your focus, and not achieving the goal. Perfection takes time and Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Before we move on, a true self-assessment must be done of what you are doing now. Your Empire may be doomed if you take the mistakes of your past and present into your future. If you’re thinking perfection isn’t possible, your goal should be to get as close to perfection as possible to have the proper foundation on which to build. If you’re not sure where to begin, contacting Carod Properties is a great place to start.

By: Alicia M. Caldwell, AMC Literary Services

Sustaining, Maintaining or Building: Reevaluating Investment Real Estate Possibilities

Sherkica McIntyre - Wednesday, May 10, 2017

At Carod Properties we are avid proponents of real estate as an investment, wealth building vehicle. You will see—in our BLOG articles and in conversation with any of our knowledgeable staff—that we also strive to educate owners, that they be the best landlords possible. Not only because your success reflects the knowledge we’ve conveyed, but having the knowledge to make investment real estate successful will give birth to even greater investment opportunities.

The keys to the equation of turning the one test property into a bonafide portfolio, is vigilance and vision. If investment real estate is a new venture for you, do not rest on the laurels of 1 success. Not working to recreate the recipe used to seek, find, purchase and rent a property is the epitome of missed opportunity. So what makes some owners stop at one or two properties? No…seriously, what is it? Once you slowly wade into the water of investment real estate and get your toes wet, as they say, why stop there? At Carod Properties we collectively ask ourselves and our property owners this question often. When you got your first job, did you stop at that first paycheck? Are you still driving your first car? No you experienced success and kept going or did it again, recreated the experience. Why can’t you do that with real estate?

One must ask yourself what your ultimate goal is. Then, if that answer is not to build, we need to have a serious discussion. Though having one property may bring extra monthly income, or help you to reach a specific goal, what then? The difference between temporary and long term success is vision. When you close on the first investment property are you sustaining, maintaining or building? To help you figure that out, we can provide definitions. Sustain means to hold something at a certain level. It implies that what is being held would quickly fall or fade if not sustained. While something that is maintained would decay over a longer time if neglected. Things that are sustained require continuous, foreground effort. Building is not only self-explanatory but should be what anyone venturing into investment real estate should be working towards. If all of this doesn’t have you thinking, or rethinking the trajectory of your empire, give Carod Properties a call so we can help you BUILD your EMPIRE!

By: Alicia M. Caldwell, AMC Literary Services

Spring: Buying and selling season

Sherkica McIntyre - Friday, April 28, 2017

Everyone knows there are seasons; in religion, nature, and in real estate to name a few. In real estate, specifically, many things depend on the individual buyer and seller. Readiness, financial well-being, list of desires all depend on the person(s) selling or buying. You can’t always make a sweeping generalization, when those things and more, changes their situation. That said, the beginning of spring marks a definite increase in the buzz around the real estate in most markets.

Industry experts feel that the start of spring is when real estate begins to heat up, from both perspectives, buying and selling. Every spring, as decluttering begins and flowers begin to bloom, “For Sale” signs—old-fashioned and digital—begin popping up all over. Accordingly, there will be a simultaneous swarm of activity of lookers, agents, buyers, and sellers coming out of the hibernation of winter…all looking for a deal. There is nothing quite like a spring real estate market. Everyone is looking to either buy or sell and take advantage of the spring frenzy.

However, beware. Because of the spring frenzy, on both sides, there is typically a flood of inventory on the marketplace. Sellers have either been waiting for spring, or on the fence about when to sell and have seen how much activity is out there, or been advised by a trusted and knowledgeable agent that, now is the time. So, following that great advice, they list! There are more properties on the market in spring than any other time of the year.

That fact, also can make it the worst time to buy a home. That same frenzy that gives you many options to choose from, creates a lot of competition for almost every home. Great for the seller, but for the buyer, they can quickly get into several situations of being in a bidding war and being outbid for what they thought was their dream home. That is not meant to scare you away from buying if you’re ready. What that should hopefully suggest is, now is the time to hire a professional realtor. A realtor knows the market and has experience navigating the spring real estate frenzy. It’s springtime, and whether you’re buying or selling, Carod Properties is here to help!

By: Alicia M. Caldwell, AMC Literary Services

New Year’s Resolution Progress Report

Sherkica McIntyre - Monday, April 24, 2017

April is drawing to a close. At work you may be composing 1st quarter reports, getting first quarter performance reviews, and receiving progress reports at home from your children’s school. Now is the perfect time to gage where you are, compared to where you planned to be for the year. Kind of a self-analysis of some of the things you hope to accomplish in 2017. You may not have gone so far as to call these tasks “New Year’s Resolutions,” but the same premise applies. Regardless, it’s always a good idea to track your progress and the close of the first quarter of 2017 is just as good a time as any.

Another way to think of a NYR is as a goal. One effective means to reach any goal, is to build into the goal a means to gage your process. Sure, you can have a pass or fail mentality, but to ensure you actually get there, it helps to have a way to know you’re on track or realize that you need to work a little harder. So, hopefully, the resolutions/goals you’ve set for 2017 have a means to check your progress, and now that spring has sprung, you should do just that!

Whether it was a tangible goal or a change in behavior, most people use the dawning of a new year as a catalyst for change. Usually, you are the only one keeping track…or are you? To reach the goals we set for ourselves, evaluating ourselves periodically is just as big a part of setting the goal as the decision to do so. Here are some tips to set goals and track/assess your progress:

  • Make your goals specific. When you have an exact destination, you definitely know when you’ve gotten there.
  • Measure progress. If you can measure it, you can change it; which is a fundamental principal of psychology. The feedback you get from assessing your own progression, can be strong motivation to keep moving forward or realize that you may have reached a plateau or even slipped backward.
  • Be patient with yourself. Some people see rapid gains, while for others progress will be painfully and deceptively slow. Just remember, making lasting change takes time.
  • Share your goals with others. Now, this may be hard because while it can give you added need for accountability, it also opens you up to criticism and, at times, less than productive feedback. Best case scenario, having an “accountability partner” will add the discipline you need to stay the course.

Research shows that only 8% of NYR setters reach their goal, so it is a statistical probability that you were in the 92% that didn’t. And, that’s ok. What’s less ok is lack of progress. It’s not too late to set goals for the year and for your life. While doing so, make sure there is a way to track your progress. Then, if at the end of the year you have not reached said goal, you can at least revel in the fact that progress was made. And, that, is motivation in and of itself!

By: Alicia M. Caldwell, AMC Literary Services

Our office has been ranked by Expertise.com as the 2nd Best Property Management firm in the Charlotte area

Sherkica McIntyre - Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Best Property Managers in Charlotte Carod Properties desires to share with you our recent accomplishment. Our office has been ranked by Expertise.com as the 2nd Best Property Management firm in the Charlotte area.

https://www.expertise.com/nc/charlotte/property-management

Pretty awesome to be ranked along with several powerhouses in the industry as well as other wonderful "mom and pop" companies. Based on the 25 variables the rankings were determine by, we are honored and humbled to be listed and ranked at #2 of 182. Our aim is for #1 next year.

Our office is appreciative of your business and partnership. We desire to provide you the best and most efficient service as your property manager. Please keep us informed on how we can better service your account by contacting our office directly with your questions, concerns and suggestions.

We honor your time and respect your opinions on what makes Carod Properties a good fit for you!

Again thank you sincerely for your patronage and support of Carod Properties.

Tax Preparedness

Sherkica McIntyre - Saturday, April 15, 2017

Christian or not, some received a major blessing for Easter. The 2017 Federal income tax deadline this year is the 18th instead of the 15th of April. Easter weekend notwithstanding, the change in the deadline has nothing to do with Easter. A little known holiday is responsible for your slight reprieve this year. Celebrated in Washington, D.C., Emancipation Day commemorates the DC Compensated Emancipation Act of 1862 that ended slavery in the nation's capital. The actual day of the holiday is April 16 but it is recognized on a Friday if that day falls on a Saturday and Monday if it falls on a Sunday.

So, some…many may benefit because IRS regulations prohibit the tax filing deadline from falling on a Saturday, Sunday or a legal holiday. Even with a few extra days, there will be some that still need an extension or just decide to accept the consequences of delayed filing. No judgment, but it doesn’t have to be that way. If you think about it logically, you have 364 days to prepare! An entire year. Instead of telling you how to properly go into panic mode and get everything in by the 18th, we’re going to focus on best practices to avoid last minute filing, last minute errors, and the consequences that ensue.

4 Ways to Prepare for Tax Season 2018

  1. Have all of your information. If you do your own, it’s a given, but if you drop off your box of papers at your local tax prep office, make sure all of your info is included, that all I’s are dotted and T’s are crossed. Write every possible number down and keep it in a continuously updated file for quick access. (Social Security, birth dates, tax id’s, etc.)
  2. Tax filing is information gathering. Make life easier by staying organized. As paperwork comes in, file it. W-2s, 1098s, 1099s, etc.
  3. Hang on to each and every “year-end statement”. Every financial aspect of your life is important. For proper credit and adherence to regulations, make documentation of finances an ongoing priority.
  4. Give (to charity) ‘til it hurts…but, save your receipts!

While every tax filer's situation is their own, all taxpayers have a similar experience. That's because the IRS demands certain information from everyone. But, filing taxes doesn't have to be an annoyance. You can be less frustrated and more efficient if you have all the material at your fingertips if you simply plan ahead. By being prepared, you'll be ready to file your return at the earliest possible moment. Remember, the early bird gets…to relax next April!

By: Alicia M. Caldwell, AMC Literary Services

Benefits of Home Warranty

Sherkica McIntyre - Monday, April 03, 2017

There are many things that should be on the list of best practices, when it comes to the investment real estate game. While some things are obvious, others may be more obscure, yet are must haves for a seamless as possible investment real estate experience. (Notice we didn’t say, “seamless experience.” There are seams…everywhere! But, with the right foundation, you can manage things in a seamless as possible manner.) One of the most obvious things you need, with maybe a few obscure reasons why, is a home warranty plan.

Home Insurance vs Home Warranty

Do not make the mistake of being under protected. If you have a mortgage, your bank/lender requires that you have home insurance. A home insurance policy covers any accidental damage to your home and belongings due to theft, storms, fires, and some natural disasters. There are four primary areas covered under the policy: the interior and exterior of your home, personal property in case of theft, loss or damage, and general liability that can arise when a person is injured while on your property. A home warranty is a service contract that provides for repair or replacement of your system components and appliances that fail due to age and standard wear and tear.

Benefits of Home Warranty Plan

  • If you are selling your home, buyers are more attracted to homes with the protection of a HWP. A Gallup Poll revealed that 8 out of 10 buyers actually prefer to purchase a home that has a warranty plan. This is especially vital, if your home is considered to be “older,” and thereby more prone to the issues covered by an HWP.
  • For the same reason a HWP attracted you, it will attract potential first-time buyers, that may have not been interested in something that’s not a “new build.” First-time homebuyers often do not have surplus funds, and will value, greatly, assurance that they will not have to come out of pocket for minor repairs.
  • Novice Landlord. If real estate is your chosen business venture but not your background, you may fall short in areas such as contingency fund, and surplus income. A HWP protects you from having to make what may be costly repairs, out of pocket. It may also help you attract and keep renters. With a HWP, they know that they will not have to wait, needlessly, for you to be able to fund repairs.

Again, a home warranty plan is not mandatory like homeowner’s insurance. Whether you bought the home to live in, sell, or rent it’s a game of risk vs. reward and value vs. cost. You may not want to spend any unnecessary money, for something that is not required. Whether or not you choose to buy a home warranty is a personal decision based on multiple factors. If the home is new to you, there is a period where you are still learning the home. You may choose to do away with it when you’ve learned and worked out all of the kinks. Until you know, and for best practices as a homebuyer and/or landlord, home warranty is worth every penny.

By: Alicia M. Caldwell, AMC Literary Services

The Pitfalls of Deferred Repairs

Sherkica McIntyre - Friday, March 03, 2017

When you become an investment property owner, but it’s not what you do, you’ll quickly learn that things are different from maintaining your personal home. Being a landlord is an entirely different animal than simply being a home owner. One main difference in the two, and there are many, is the human factor. What you may resolve to live with cannot always be applied to another person. This can be true with another person within your own home, let alone someone who happens to be paying for residence in your property. That being the case, there are areas of the management of your rental property, that can’t be treated in a, “I’ll get around to it” type of way.

One such area is the issue of maintenance and repairs. We at Carod Properties have often said and reiterated that, investing in income properties is not for the faint of heart. Our clients know and you should, also, that it is far from just finding a renter and collecting rent. It is an investment and investments require their due diligence and attention. It’s like a garden. Once you plant the seeds, to reap the rewards of a plentiful harvest you must tend to it—water, maintain, and address what issues may arise. Even if you have written in the language of your lease that much of the cosmetic maintenance is the responsibility of the tenant, there are other things that will solely fall on your shoulders. Not giving those things proper time and attention can lead to unnecessary headaches, problems, and costs.

Escalation of the Issue. One such unnecessary headaches is the escalation of a minor issue to a catastrophe. Some subscribe to the school of thinking that if it’s not a problem or not that big of a problem now, then you’re wasting money. (I do some preventative maintenance and then when it eventually needs repair, I pay for it again.) Well, that’s just nonsensical. Regular maintenance of certain home needs and the prompt maintenance of a new issue, prevents costly repair. Repair and maintenance are two different things. The former can all too often be a cost that hurts in a way that few novice landlords are prepared to absorb.

Reputation. Your next renter may only come, if the previous renter was satisfied. Depending on size of your city, word of mouth can make or break you. Furthermore, depending on the surplus of the market and the widespread draw of social media to help make all of our decisions, you absolutely need for renter that are leaving to be leaving with a positive experience to tweet, post, and talk about. Someone who has encountered deferred repairs, a difficult reporting process, and a landlord that seems to be uncaring about what they are viewing as their home for the duration, will reflect in your ability or inability to secure new tenants.

Danger/Possible Litigation. Some repairs simply have to be addressed immediately. The fact that it is something you feel that they can live with, because it’s something you could, simply won’t fly when comes to being an investment property owner. There haven’t been 503 million lawyer television shows because people don’t like to sue. And, add to this being a very litigious society, the previous bad experiences that a tenant might have had, may make them quick to pull the trigger when their safety and well-being is at risk due to things like loose floor boards and suspicious mold.

Even if you don’t have a green thumb, you understand that you reap what you sow. Make your investment always bring forth a plentiful harvest, by addressing maintenance issues as they come. Even better, be proactive and address issues before they become problems. If it becomes overwhelming, invest further, by securing the services of a competent property management company. You’ll be happy you did. As always, Carod Properties is here to help!

By: Alicia M. Caldwell, AMC Literary Services


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10130 Mallard Creek Dr. Suite 300
Charlotte, NC 28262
Phone: 1-877-62-CAROD
EFax: (704) 973-9513
Mobile: (704) 701-6506

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