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Charlotte Property Management Blog

End-of-Summer Home Maintenance Tips

Sherkica McIntyre - Friday, August 31, 2018
Property Management Blog

Photo via Pixabay

Advice for Homeowners On For Preparing For the Cooler Seasons

There are a variety of ways to safeguard your home and family against colder weather that doesn’t cost a pretty penny. Whether you are choosing to make structural updates or small tweaks here and there, the proper way to maintain the integrity of your abode is to guard it against environmental wear and tear, while saving you time and money.  Here are some end-of-summer ideas to getting your home cold weather-ready.


Staying Warm 

If your home is in need of some major updates, you’re not alone. Though a full renovation may not be required, some tweaks easily provide safety and comfort. One way of doing so is to check on all exterior parts of the house, such as gutters, downspouts, siding and other structural areas.

While it isn’t necessary to clean gutters and downspouts too often, doing so prevents damage such as sloping roofs, roof rot and a destabilizing foundation, which can occur when a buildup of water or snow accumulates. According to HomeAdvisor, the average cost for gutter and downspout cleaning in the city of Charlotte is between $105 - $224. However, prices can still be as low as $75, depending on the surrounding vegetation and the amount of precipitation that you get in your area. 


Seal Out the Cold 

Regularly checking for air leaks around your home can greatly reduce energy bill costs. According to the Department of Energy, air leakages can lead to poor air quality and elevated moisture levels, which can impact the home’s structure. 

Visually test for air leaks by examining the interior walls, ceilings, cabinets, and floors for dirty spots which may be an indicator of leakage. Also, replacing your single pane windows for double-pane is a better a option for cold, windier conditions. Mail slots, piping around your home as well as foundation seals can also allow air to come inside, so it’s a good idea to study those areas as well. 

Additionally, performing an air pressure test will create forced air into the home, around trouble spots and is fairly easy to perform. All you’ll need is an incense stick and a damp hand to detect cool drafts.


Protect the Pipes

Piping systems occur all over the home and carry water too and fro. However, water damage and weather conditions can cause pipes to leak or burst. When pipes rupture, this can cause even more trouble for the home in the form of flooding, structural damage, and mold, that can lead to numerous health problems.

To prevent frozen pipes and water damage, locate pipes that are located in spots that tend to freeze and apply insulation to those areas. If a pipe is exposed, then the correct insulation will help guard against frigid conditions. If your pipes are burst, then maintaining a small flow of water will help re-open the lines. When it comes to burst pipes, shut off all the valves take the necessary precautions to protect you from electrical danger. 

Protecting your home against wintery conditions can be a time and money-saving way to keep your home safe and sound this year. Always utilize the proper techniques and most importantly, stay safe 

It's Time To Take Charge

Sherkica McIntyre - Monday, August 6, 2018
Property Management Blog

3 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Buying your First House to Let

Sherkica McIntyre - Thursday, July 5, 2018
Property Management Blog

There are few things more exciting than purchasing your first home for let. Not only are you starting a new path in your investment portfolio, but you're also exploring something that's going to provide you with a source of income for many years to come. Of course, just as would-be homeowners can make mistakes when purchasing a property to live in, there are a number of issues that a new buyer can face when looking for a home to rent out.

Fortunately, you have the opportunity to learn from the mistakes of the buyers that came before you. Here are just a few of the mistakes that people make when purchasing the ultimate investment property.

1. Trying to Go it Alone

Buying a home for income and investment purposes is a huge financial transaction and a really big deal. You need the house you buy to be more than just attractive - you need something that's going to appeal to renters and give you a consistent source of income, with as little stress as possible. The good news is that there are people out there who can help you not only make the right decision but manage your real estate investment when you make it.

As tempting as it is to try and cut costs by "going it alone," the best thing you can do for your future is seek out the assistance of someone who knows there way around the real-estate market, and the neighborhood you're buying in.

2. Not Understanding the Cost of your Purchase

In a standard home-buying scenario, it's easy to make mistakes when it comes to figuring out how much of your budget you're going to use. People often overlook the extra expenses of buying a home, like getting our friends over at Bellhops Moving Charlotte to help them out with transporting belongings or paying legal fees.

The same issue often applies to people who are buying property for investment purposes. As well as the cost of the mortgage, you're also going to need to factor in how much it's going to cost to advertise your property on the market and manage the maintenance costs for your renters too. You might even want to regularly wash and re-paint the outside of your home to give it more curb appeal when it's on the market.

3. Relying on Pictures and Skipping the Inspection

Finally, even if you're in a rush to make your investment and start seeing the rewards, it's important not to rush into anything with your real estate purchase. Even if you see endless photos of a house online, it's impossible to get a real insight into what you're buying until you've walked through the property yourself, checked out the neighborhood, and examined every corner. Remember, this is a big investment and something you can't afford to rush.

At the same time, as tempting as it may be to keep costs low by avoiding the inspection, the best thing you can do to save yourself some serious cash is make sure you get an expert to come and take a look at the property and it's potential. This way, you'll save yourself some serious cash in the long term.

Tips for Selling Your Charlotte Home This Summer

Sherkica McIntyre - Monday, June 11, 2018
Property Management Blog

Informed sellers are often the most satisfied sellers, with the SOLD sign up and their goals achieved. To be informed, make sure you understand the trends in your local market, know how to make your house appealing, and work with an expert agent.

Whether your goal is the highest possible price or the fastest sale, there is a best time to sell your house in Charlotte.

Best Time for the Best Price

Sales numbers for 2014-2017 show that October is when to close, because sales in that month went for 16.84% above the average Charlotte home price. For an October sale, list and begin showing in August. June also made a strong sales in these years, with prices at 14.58% above average.

Best Time for the Quickest Sale

In Charlotte, the 2014-2017 sales numbers show that August is the best month for the fastest sale, when homes (listed in June) spent 7.7 fewer days on the market than average. July was a close second, with 7 fewer days to sale, and September comes in third with 4 fewer days.

So, whatever your goals, summer is going to feature in your best home-selling plan.

Best Tips for Summer Selling

Nature is your ally, with summer leaves and flowers to boost valuable curb appeal. You and Nature need to work as a team because your house makes its all-important first impression outside. The tips here not only beautify that first impression, but may even increase your home’s value. Your summer home maintenance checklist should include:

  • Cleanliness: Clear away toys and garden tools, and pressure wash the surfaces prospective buyers will look at. Rented inexpensively from your local home store, a pressure washer takes care of walls, driveways, decks, patios, etc.
  • Paint: Peeling paint is a “red flag,” making buyers wonder what else in the house has been neglected. Bad first impression! Touch up wherever needed. The front door especially benefits from a fresh, bright coat of paint. Consult with your agent if you think the whole house requires painting.
  • Lawn: Lush grass is an ROI winner, consistently bringing 100% or more return on investment for reseeding (over 400%!), sod, and/or grooming. A well-maintained lawn shouts that a house has been well cared for. Mowing in diagonal lines will actually make your lawn look bigger, and edge-trimming is the final perfect touch.
  • Repairs: Exterior “accessories” need to be in good shape. Replace broken shutters or roof shingles. Check that gutters are securely attached, not leaking, and free of blockages. No broken fences, walkways, or lights. Also, new house numbers are a stylish update that helps buyers find you.
  • Staging: Stage your outdoor spaces, such as porches and decks, as you would your rooms. Arrange comfortable furniture and vignettes that suggest the wonderful lifestyle these areas provide.
  • Pretty Planting: Add coordinated color with native flowers in garden beds, along walkways, and in pots. But don’t overdo: aim for attractive pops of color that enhance your look.

Best Advice

The best advice about your local market and your particular house will come from the Carod Properties expert real estate agent you’re working with. They will guide you in all aspects of your best home sale.

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas: DIY Home Projects She’ll Love

Sherkica McIntyre - Sunday, May 6, 2018
Property Management Blog

Photo via Pixabay by StockSnap

Mother’s Day can be stressful for some of us; it’s not always easy to know what gift to get Mom that will show her how much she means to you. However, it’s not always about the gift itself; sometimes, it’s more about a gesture, such as doing something thoughtful that you know she’ll love. Most mothers will tell you that they don’t care what their children give them as long as it’s from the heart, and that’s what the day is all about.

Because many moms love their homes so much, it’s a good idea to think of ways you can improve her space and give her the opportunity to relax. Whether you want to give her a lovely patio space to showcase her plants or a calm room where she can do yoga, doing a small DIY home improvement project will show her how much you care and will literally be the gift that keeps on giving. Here are a few tips on how to get started.

Declutter

If there’s a room that has collected all the things your mom doesn’t have room for anywhere else, consider clearing out the clutter and giving her a space she’ll love as a hobby room. Whether she likes to knit/sew, paint, or craft, there are several ways you can give her a hobby room she’ll love for years to come. Personalize the room with a bulletin board where she can pin up ideas, or give her a row of shelves full of colored pencils and other tools of the artistic trade. Click here for some great tips on how to revamp a room for Mom.

Create a Relaxing Patio

Many moms love spending time outdoors, where they can be surrounded by colorful plants while soaking up some sun. Giving her a patio where she can sit and relax is one of the best gifts you can give her, so take a look at the space she has now to see where you can give it a boost. It might be something as simple as adding hanging flower baskets or as big as finding a new patio furniture set or an awning to protect her from the sun. Whatever you choose, make sure you have the right tools, such as a good power drill, before you get started.

Give Her a Workout Room

Staying fit and active is imperative for seniors, and one of the easiest ways for your mom to stay healthy is to have a room at home where she can work out in privacy and safety. It can be a space in the basement or sunroom, but it should be large enough for her to move around safely and contain simple equipment, such as a yoga mat, a stability ball, free weights, and resistance bands.

Look for Things That Need Help

If your parents have lived in the same home for years, it’s possible that there are small things that need to be repaired or updated. Look for things that could use some help, or consider making the house more accessible in relation to your mom’s age. For instance, you might make sure the flooring is safe and won’t lead to slips or falls, or install new lighting fixtures to illuminate dark corners and eliminate any vision issues.

Mother’s Day is the perfect time to show your mom how much she means to you, and you don’t have to spend a ton of money to do it. The gesture is the most important part, and it can be a way to bond with your mom if you allow her to be involved. Take time with the planning process and don’t make any major changes to her home without her permission.

Sustaining, Maintaining or Building: Beyond sustaining

Sherkica McIntyre - Sunday, June 18, 2017
Property Management Blog

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 - Sunday, June 11, 2017
Property Management Blog

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: Reevaluating Investment Real Estate Possibilities

Sherkica McIntyre - Tuesday, May 9, 2017
Property Management Blog

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 - Thursday, April 27, 2017
Property Management Blog

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 - Sunday, April 23, 2017
Property Management Blog

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


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