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The Campaign and Your Children

Sherkica McIntyre - Monday, May 16, 2016

It's customary, during an election year, for schools to discuss the election. The candidates, the electoral process and possibly even some of the topics that the candidates are using as part of their platforms are used as a learning tool in classrooms across the country. The presidential election of 2016 is unique in that America is deciding on its future leader after saying goodbye to Barack Obama—statistically, our most successful president in decades. He is one who simultaneously faced possibly a level of criticism/opposition that been unheard of since Abraham Lincoln.

The current candidates are curiously adored by members of their party (regardless of unpopular stances on various subjects) and almost dangerously hated by members of the opposite party. With so much mudslinging and support for what can be summed up as unproductive nonsense, what do we discuss with our children regarding this year's election? They’re too young to vote, yet are inundated with everything that surrounds this key election for our country. As a parent you may be a little leery of discussing such heavy subjects with your children, but what do you say when they ask? Hopefully, something better than, “You’ll understand when you’re older.” Because, let’s face it, adults aren’t understanding much right, and the country is very much divided over the right leader for the future of the country.

The election is no different than any other tough subject in your household. You answer questions, while imparting the values of your family. Talking with your kids about important issues, the electoral process, and why voting is important not only gives them an education on how government affects the world, but also shows that every person's opinion counts. Though they can't vote yet, they'll be able to someday, so it's important that they start becoming informed and as familiar with the process and the concept of why, as soon as possible.

If possible, take your kids with you into the voting booth on Election Day and/or take advantage of “kids voting” opportunities, sponsored in many communities. It will show them firsthand how the process works. The best way to explain what all the fuss is about, is by being a role model and setting a positive example that lets them know you value the right to vote. Instead of trying to explain all of the bad behavior and negative soundbites that get played in the media, make the learning about the process. Show your children the importance of voting — and they'll grow up knowing that every vote counts. And, when it’s their time to vote, they will know through all of the mudslinging and name calling, their vote is the only way for them to personally sort it all out!

Must Dos Before Selling

Sherkica McIntyre - Sunday, May 08, 2016

Part of real-estate investing is to have a viable exit strategy. Actually, multiple. There are numerous factors that can come into play that will make selling the best, if not only option for your investment. Anything from a prolonged vacancy to owner relocation may require the tough but prudent decision to sell. Hopefully, you will have enough lead time to make the succession of subsequent decisions that follow the option to sell, but sometimes life or business needs don’t allow. That being the case, part of your font of knowledge should always be how to not only attract renters, but what will attract buyers.

A good thing to keep in mind is what attracted you to the property. Also, the things that you saw and thought should’ve been changed before the previous owner put the property on the market. If you’ve listened to the experts, here at Carod Properties, any improvements that you made were not too personal or exclusive. Your leasing agreement should have also excluded drastic changes by tenants. Even given those two things, there are a few things that require your attention before your property goes on the market. Making the right improvements will make your home sell faster and for more cash. Better still, some of them require very little work.

Pivotal “Must-Dos” are:

  • Landscaping. Sprucing up your property’s ground is a cheap easy trick that can add up to 28% to your home’s value. Real-estate is very much a book that can gets read by its cover. Even if you can’t do a top to bottom overhaul, make your lawn green, replace the welcome mat, exterior paint and door.
  • Flooring. Carpet is a no-no. There are those that like it, but those that don’t…hate it. If your home currently has carpet—that you usually just shampoo for each new tenant—for purposes of selling, hardwood is the way to go. An economical way to address this flooring issue is a high-quality, but far less cost prohibitive laminate.
  • Fix Windows and Doors. Whether your property is older or a new one, windows and doors need regular updating. Besides the aesthetic value to be had, outdated and/or improperly functioning doors and windows are an energy drain on a property that no buyer wants to take on in a “new” (to them) home.
  • Paint (& Wash) Walls. Many landlords allow painting and just factor in repainting into the cost to flip for a new tenant. If you allowed painting, definitely repaint…and in a neutral color. It’s easier for a prospective buyer to imagine themselves in an unobtrusive space (ie, staged and with no garish or buyer-specific colors). And, dirty walls are a definite no-no. The smallest patch of wear and tear on a wall can be perceived as a minor bit of deferred maintenance. Imagine someone viewing the home saying, “If they didn’t even think to clean the walls, what else did they not do?”
  • Clean Cabinets. Yes, clean (wipe down) your cabinets. But, also, clean out. You may not see it on the real-estate shows where realtors are showing homes, but you’d be surprised by how brazen buyers can be. Yes, they look around, but some dig. If there’s anything left from a previous tenant or you’ve used the property for storage in the interim, make sure everything is cleaned out and in “ready-to-sell” order. Don’t assume you can clean out cabinets later, and just close the doors. They will dig, and they will find and be put off.
  • Update the Lighting. Questions you should ask yourself, when it comes to lighting, are: Is it dated? Does it serve the space properly? Is it functioning? Lighting can go out of style, like hairstyles. Why take a chance with a buyer walking away because lighting can be too expensive, when you can give yourself time to shop around or capitalize on the relationships you’ve formed and get a great deal?

Make your decision to sell a positive one. You can do this by making informed, tried and true decisions that will get you the bang for your buck that you deserve. Walking away from the investment does not need to be a negative experience. By making the right decisions, in every aspect, you will be able to walk away with the motivation to buy again.

Financial Abuse

Sherkica McIntyre - Friday, April 29, 2016

There’s an organization, gaining public recognition and support, which is providing information and assistance to victims of domestic abuse. Although, the physical and emotional affects are the primary focus for similar organizations. Purple Purse focuses on the financial abuse that persons in that situation face and how it ultimately is a contributing force that keeps them in a terrible situation.

Briefly, financial abuse prevents domestic abuse victims from acquiring, using or maintaining financial resources. Financial abuse is just as effective in controlling a victim as a lock and key. Abusers employ isolating tactics such as preventing their spouse or partner from working or accessing a bank, credit card or transportation. They might tightly monitor and restrict their partner’s spending. Victims of financial abuse live a controlled life where they have been purposely put into a position of dependence, making it hard for the victim to break free.

While the issue of domestic abuse is tragic (1 in 4 women* experience domestic abuse, 98% of those feel trapped in their situation because financial abuse), financial abuse or inescapable financial dependence can be a seemingly insurmountable barrier to independence for anyone. Be it children to their parents, or spouse to a spouse, when you give someone complete control over your financial existence—food, shelter, savings, ability to earn—for whatever reason, you also remove your ability to free yourself of an unhealthy or potentially dangerous situation, because you have no financial means or know-how to live without them.

Basically, you should be all you need. Everyone needs help, some time. And, it’s a wonderful thing to have someone/somewhere to turn in your time of need. Finding a mate, a help mate is a cherished thing and no one should advise you to go into it with thoughts of “what happens if you want to leave?” But, no relationship should require that you lose yourself to become part of a whole. Make a friend, mate, or parent’s assistance a temporary thing, and not something that is vital for your survival, by:

  • Setting boundaries and limits for what anyone else can do for you
  • Always maintain some source of financial independence
  • Recognize the signs that your finances are being limited, then act

All this may sound easier said than done. Of course it is! However, with eyes wide open in every situation of dependence, you can hopefully avoid the pitfalls of financial abuse. It doesn’t just wear the face of marriage or romantic relationships. Well-meaning friends and good-intending parents/children can become inadvertently abusive with the help they give, and you can slowly become so relaxed into them being that, that it can be hard to remove yourself from that situation. Take care of yourself, mind, body…and finances.

*Please note, women are not the only victims of domestic abuse.

Domestic Violence is never ok. If you or someone you know needs help, call the 
National Domestic Violence Hotline @ 1-800-799-SAFE.

Spring Clean, 2016

Sherkica McIntyre - Friday, April 15, 2016

The weather is changing, kinda. But, the potential is there. It’s going to happen. That means not only preparing for spring, but first cleaning up the remaining remnants of winter. Winter cleanup is the first step of spring cleaning. It’s not only an aesthetic issue—dry, dead leaves all over the front yard looking unsightly—it’s also a safety issue.

As a homeowner, be it landlord or resident, or as a renter having an aesthetically pleasing residence is part of what makes the house a home. You may have it written into the lease agreement that it is a shared responsibility for certain aspects of maintenance. In which case, it is clear whom does what and on what schedule. If it is not in the language of the lease, someone must take the responsibility to do the maintenance required before and after each season. Some exterior maintenance may even be required by a HOA. One such area, is the previous example of leaves.

Aesthetics. What makes for beautiful landscaping is debatable. It certainly isn’t a yard full of leaves, spread about or piled in one area. Know what your city or county’s pick up date(s) is and gather your leaves just before. Gathering them early often creates more work for you in the long run. You can’t control the wind…or kids and animals! You should also familiarize yourself with regulations regarding burning leaves. Whether it is gathering them in a timely manner, if at all, or burning them, be a good neighbor and stay considerate to those around you. Burning affects air quality, and there’s nothing worse than spending hours gathering every leaf, burl and twig and then having your neighbors’ abandoned leaves blow onto your pristine lawn, or vice versa.

Safety. Gathering and disposing of leaves and yard debris in a timely manner is not just about pretty landscaping. Unattended leaves can cause many problems to the health of your lawn and the home, itself. Grass needs sunlight to grow. Leaves left on your lawn block the sun and its ability to promote grass growth and health. It also causes dead spots that can cause a more than usual effort to get that lush, green lawn that usually starts to appear as spring progresses. You need to deal with leaves around the grounds of your property, but also your drainage systems. Even if you have the gates over the gutter along the eaves of your home, leaves can get in. And, if you don’t, they definitely will. Clogged gutters and down spouts can cause rain water to be unable to drain properly. Basically, water that is supposed to be directed away from the house, with a properly functioning system, can be diverted improperly towards the house and, over time, cause foundation problems.

Whether you are the owner of the property and reside in it or lease to a tenant, this spring make sure that winter debris is taken care of. Even if it is in the language of the lease puts the responsibility on the tenant, it is ultimately the owner’s responsibility. If you don’t check-in on your property at any other time, make a habit out of checking at the beginning and/or end of each season. Protect your investment by keeping things clean!

Charlotte, Destination Home: Part 3

Sherkica McIntyre - Thursday, March 24, 2016

This month we’ve shared with you what real-estate experts have been advising, that Charlotte, NC real-estate is booming. We dropped the news, in the first article in this series. Next we revisited how to decide if real-estate is investing is for you, by reminding you of important fundamentals. If you’ve taken all of that into account, and decided that you’re ready to invest, we want to further illustrate, why Charlotte.

Market trends help you understand the movement of key price indicators. Trends in Charlotte show a 35% year-over-year rise in median sales price and a 2% rise in median rent per month. What does this mean for you? Basically, it’s a great time to invest. If you need to or choose to eventually sell, if done properly, probability for profit is good. However, in the case of long-term investors, Charlotte is showing a rise in what the median prices are for rent. We’ve advised in a recent article about allowing the market trends to dictate your decision to raise your tenant’s rent. This is the instance to which we referring. For new purchases, you can expect to be able to get a higher rent than in previous years, which may add to what you may see as the benefits of investing. And, for current properties those statistics justify a possible increase.

Other reasons for investing in Charlotte real-estate, for personal property or as an investment, are simple. Major corporations are headquartered here.

A major indicator of a city’s economic strength and stability is the presence of Fortune 500 operations. The Fortune 500 list is compiled each year by Fortune magazine by ranking the previous year’s annual revenues of large national and multinational corporations headquartered in the United States. The Charlotte metro area boasts seven Fortune 500 headquarters, ranking the MSA 20th nationally in number of Fortune 500 company headquarters. These headquarters represent more than $223.4 billion in revenue for 2013. More importantly, 291 of the Fortune 500 companies have made a commitment to Charlotte by placing one or more of their facilities within the MSA.

Charlotte has 8 institutions of higher learning and is also in close proximity to quality NC institutions of higher education (30+ 2- 4-year, technical, private and non-for-profit within 25 miles). These two factors are important for corporate leases, recent graduates entering the workforce and college off-campus housing as a built-in pool of potential renters. Nightlife in Charlotte is amazing, which is a draw for homebuyers and those looking to rent. Charlotte is cosmopolitan enough—with its world-class dining, museums, history and proximity to family entertainment—to garner attention and tourism for its offerings, but removed enough from negative aspects of “big city” life to simulate desirable, highly sought small-town vibe. In short, Charlotte is a hot destination. As an investor, you must recognize the potential for success in investing…now!

There are going to be many that see this information and statistical data about Charlotte, see the opportunities for education, employment, and/or starting a family and seek it out. Everyone is not going to want to or be able to buy. A savvy investor will take this information, see the potential in an investment property, and invest in their future. All you need is a plan, funding, and the right partner to guide you. Carod Properties is here to help!

Charlotte, Destination Home: Part 2

Sherkica McIntyre - Friday, March 18, 2016

We, here at Carod Properties, have said it before and it bears repeating, having the funding is by no means the first step or even most important step in venturing into real estate investing. One of the very first steps should be knowing the viability of the market in which you plan to buy. Or, if you are not knowledgeable of such things, know enough to seek the services of those that are. We recently advised you of how the Charlotte real-estate market is booming. That’s not just our opinion. Many and varied experts in the field include Charlotte, NC as a Top 10 promising area to invest for 2016.

We’ve told you where you need to invest, so now it’s time to remind you of some things to keep in mind to set yourself up for success. First, remember that real-estate investing is a business. It’s not just buying a home and renting it out. And, every good business starts with a great business plan. A well-thought plan will include everything from funding to exit strategies. It will help you not only set the goal for a successful venture but set you on a path to make it happen, each step of the way. Other aspects to remember, include:

  • Funding: Check your credit, find a lender and most importantly actually secure funding before contacting your realtor. Make sure you’re funding is in order, with options that will allow you to make the purchase, repair/improve where needed, market and establish/maintain a contingency fund.
  • Realtor: Don’t just find a realtor to show you properties, listen to their advice. They not only know where to look, they can direct you to the properties that will help you realize your vision and goals for this venture.
  • Education: Spend time reading about real-estate investing. Not much beats an informed consumer. Your realtor helps you with the process of buying, and will give you advice and the benefit of their knowledge along the way. However, once the purchase is made, unless you hire them to manage your property, their job is done. There is a wealth of knowledge out there. Seek it and use to the benefit of your investment.
  • Learn from the best: To achieve success, model your investing decisions after what other successful real estate investors in your area have done. Search Google for real estate clubs in your city or start your own. Regardless, don’t try to reinvent the wheel. (*Many realtors are also investors, themselves. Forging and on-going relationship with the right realtor can be key in your investment for many, many reasons!)

Although, there are list upon lists that advise you on successful real-estate investing no one list is going to provide you everything you need to know. There’s great information to be had, but the secret is knowing what information is reliable and applicable to you. It is certain that there are those that have found success on a wing and a prayer, but for others it isn’t that easy. When you are counting on the success of your venture, for the financial security of you and your family, it is incumbent of you to make the best possible decisions. Real-estate investing is one of the number one ways Americans make their wealth. Be in the in-crowd, and do it in Charlotte. We’ll be waiting for your call!

We’ve told you where. In this article we’ve reminded you why, and in our next submission, we’ll elaborate on why, Charlotte.

Charlotte, Destination Home: Part 1

Sherkica McIntyre - Monday, March 14, 2016

You may be too young to remember commercials from the 70s featuring the jingle, “I like calling North Carolina home.” The song was used in advertisements about the treasure that is North Carolina. From the sandy beaches to the majestic mountains and everything in between, North Carolina is trending, again, as one of the country’s most desirable destinations. And, Charlotte, in particular, is making many lists as one of the top 10 cities to watch.

Whether you are looking for a place to relocate for family or job opportunities, you probably are weighing the pros and cons of each every of the country you’re considering. If you have a family, most assuredly you’re looking at the quality of education, family activities offered, and general safety. If you’re young and single or married, nightlife and job opportunities and possibly universities to continue education would be on your short list of must-haves. There are many corners of the US that can offer options from New England to sunny California. For many access to every opportunity and life eventuality, that is going to mean life in a booming metropolis, like New York, Chicago or LA. But, beyond the glitz and glamour of the “big city,” is it really the best option for you?

Livability, a residential resource company, looked at more than 2,000 small- to mid-size cities in the US, with populations ranging from 20,000 to 350,000, to compile its ranking of the 20 best places to live in America. Month after month Realtor.com uses their data to determine the hottest markets in the U.S.—where home buyers and sellers are the most motivated and active. Where are the next red-hot places for real estate? Each of the markets on their list is in high demand, with 60% more listing page views than the U.S. overall and inventory that sells 16 days faster than the U.S. average. For the younger set, especially those with families, affordability emerges as key to growth, which favors the markets in the South and Midwest.

You’re in luck if you’re looking or already own in the Charlotte area. Realtor.com 2016 Housing Forecast, recently released, honed in on the top 10 up-and-coming metropolitan markets in the country.

Top 10 Real Estate Markets to Watch in 2016

  1. Providence, RI
  2. St. Louis, MO
  3. San Diego, CA
  4. Sacramento, CA
  5. Atlanta, GA
  6. New Orleans, LA
  7. Memphis, TN
  8. Charlotte, NC
  9. Virginia Beach, VA
  10. Boston, MA

Now, ask yourselves, “Do I know any good realtors?” We’ll be waiting for your call!

Tax Deductions & Rentals

Sherkica McIntyre - Monday, March 07, 2016

If you’ve listened to your professional realtor or other competent authority, you know that many rental home expenses are tax deductible. One very important aspect of making real estate investing a profitable, successful business is your ability to stay organized. If you’ve never had any other business you may think it’s as easy as keeping your business checkbook balanced and saving receipts for purchases to be prepared for things like filing your business taxes. That’s a major part, but on a much larger and intricate scale than any personal finances. (Unless, maybe, you’re Oprah!) Sure, there will be things that you can’t deduct, but that’s no reason to omit them from your records. Unless you’re a tax professional, think of everything as important, and at least make proper documentation.

That is where organization comes in. Have a system, ask your accountant, and/or use software designed for proper business bookkeeping. A simple spreadsheet might not do the trick. Incorporate a filing system into your equation and maintain order. If you are organized in every step of the process (keeping receipts, documenting expenses and purchases, etc.) when it is time to sit down with your tax-preparer, actually filing will go much smoother for you and them. You will also remove the risk of penalty for inaccurate and incomplete information.

The most important thing to keep in mind, if you don’t have proper records to substantiate ALL that you are trying to possibly deduct, is that a reputable accountant or tax professional will not include it in your taxes. In general, you can claim the deductions for the year in which you pay for these common rental property expenses. So, make sure that your records are thorough with regards to:

                • Advertising
                • Cleaning and maintenance
                • Commissions paid to rental agents
                • Home owner association/condo dues
                • Insurance premiums
                • Legal fees
                • Mortgage interest
                • Taxes
                • Utilities

There may be and most likely are items missing from the above list that are specific to you and your real-estate investment business. That is why, and this has been advised many times before, that you secure and maintain a relationship with a professional whose business acumen is business tax filing. You wouldn’t let just anyone that can hold a pair of scissors loose on your head of hair, would you? NO! You employ the services of a professional, educated for that purpose, whose business it is to provide desired results in their field. With a haircut, you only get a bad head of hair for a while. With taxes, there’s a unique set of unpalatable problems that go along with choosing the wrong path. Make good choices, and as always, Carod Properties is here to help!

Snow Day Prep

Sherkica Miller-McIntyre - Saturday, February 13, 2016

There’s a new commercial for a popular brand of soup that shows a weary mother grocery shopping with a voiceover advising of snow and subsequent school closings. He advises that their soup (& a nice bottle of wine) is just what the doctor ordered for such situations. No reason to believe that the setting of the commercial is North Carolina, but we are certainly no strangers to wintery weather. While we’re no different than any other state or region that experiences various forms of winter precipitation, the ice storms that typify our winters usually mean icy roads and closed schools. And, although it’s something that comes every year, we are often caught off guard and trapped in the horror of long grocery lines (gotta get that milk, bread, & eggs), and activation of “Plan B” scenarios for parents across the state.

Your children may be saying, “Yayyyy, snow day!!!” but you have to keep in mind: the possibility of missed work/pay, power outages, dwindling food supplies (little crumb-snatchers!), and keeping energetic rambunctious children entertained all day long for possibly days at a time. There are ways that you can get in front of the mayhem that ensues once the snow and ice start to fall. For starters, keeping a healthy supply of pop-top or microwaveable cans of kid-friendly meals is a good start. As long as the power stays on a little spaghetti-o’s or tomato soup goes a long way; as does milk and cereal. If the power does go out, having a kerosene heater is imperative. It provides a source of heat for warmth and heating food. There are also snacks like chips, fruit, yogurt, etc. to keep around. Not sure why the milk, eggs, and bread gets gone first, possible a statewide love of French toast. These suggested staples are to supplement those three.

As far as other things in the case of power outages, there are also staples you should probably keep on hand, if you can’t find shelter somewhere else. Flashlights and batteries are a given, candles and matches also. But, if you don’t already keep bottled water on hand, a case or two in the garage in case of emergency is good advice. In addition to the water, consider purchasing a vitamin rich drink or an energy drink, also. A battery powered radio can help you stay abreast of the weather and subsequent continued closings. There are also special, battery powered radios that are equipped with ability to detect and alert emergency weather situations in a specific geographic area.

Preparedness is the key. Pay attention to possible inclement weather systems, keep supplies on hand and have a plan in place to deal with the kid factor. Either designate/alternate a parent to stay home, lock in a family member to babysit, or partner with a nearby neighbor to make a schedule (You keep mine and yours for this closing, I got next…). With proper supplies on hand, a plan devised for your kids, a subscription to Netflix and video games…you’ll breeze through another NC winter.

How to Find a Good Tenant in Charlotte – Professional Property Management Advice

Sherkica Miller-McIntyre - Wednesday, February 03, 2016

 

One question that is always posed by potential clients is – how will you find me a great tenant? Carod Properties strives to ensure that the tenant going into your rental property is a great fit based on the parameters of our application.


Application Process


During the application process, we do research on a potential tenant to ensure they meet basic requirements. This includes verifying income, checking the tenant’s residential history and running a complete criminal background check. However, that screening process cannot always guarantee that the tenant will be a perfect match. Life events can take place to anyone and that may determine whether someone can finish a lease.


Maintenance and Upkeep


Maintaining a property is also subjective. Not everyone will take care of the property like you would take care of your own home. Not everyone will clean the way you would clean or cut the lawn the way you would. These are things landlords need to remember.


We want the tenants to have all the information necessary about your rental property so they can continuously maintain the home to acceptable standards while paying the rent on time.


If you have any questions or you need help finding a great tenant, please contact us at Carod Properties.

Should I Hire a Professional Property Management Company for my Charlotte Rental Property?

Sherkica Miller-McIntyre - Wednesday, January 27, 2016

 

Many of the clients who come to our office and hire us as their professional property managers do so for a number of reasons.


Time Value


The number one reason to hire a professional management company is time. Most landlords do not have the time on a daily basis to manage their properties. By hiring a manger, you are giving yourself additional time to do the things you love and enjoy outside of your rental property.


Negotiating Skills


Our negotiating skills are also a benefit to owners. It’s our job to make sure your property is maintained on a daily basis. In doing so, we may need to negotiate on your behalf with contractors, vendors, homeowners associations, banks and even directly with the tenant. Negotiating skills are extremely important because it allows us to get you the best deals on contract work and we can communicate with the tenants and ensure your property is being well maintained. It also helps us to take care of any issues you may be having with the HOA, city violations and even legal matters.


Legal Knowledge


Another great reason to use a property manager is for tenant and landlord laws. Each state has specific guidelines in place that dictate what a landlord can and cannot do in respect to tenants. A professional property manager will know the laws. It’s our job to ensure those laws and regulations are followed to the fullest.


Rental Rates


Hiring a property manager allows you to maintain the best rental rates. Property managers understand the market, the location and the demographics of the tenants who will be renting your home.


These are just a few reasons to hire a professional property manager. If you’d like to hear more about our services, please contact us at Carod Properties.

Voting

Sherkica Miller-McIntyre - Monday, January 25, 2016

The country is in the last months of the tenure of our current President. For months now, as President Obama continues to run the country and finish out his Constitutional last 4 years, a whole new group of politicians and the like have been throwing their respective hats in the ring. Regardless of what you think of our current President, it is now up to us all to also make our own preparations. We must prepare ourselves for the choice of not only who’s next, but what’s next.


Many Americans make the decision of whom to vote for emotionally. Sore feelings about the incumbent, alignment with a particular political party, and personal feelings about a specific candidate drives our decisions giving the “who” more weight than the “what”. It should be stated that while you can like who the person is behind the political candidate, their platform and political views is what will dictate what they will do once in office. So, what can you do, before stepping into the voting booth and casting your vote? Try this:


  • Watch the Debates. And, not just read the newsfeed of our friends and others to get their opinion on what was said. Hear it for yourself. Yes, they can be long and boring but they are rife with vital information. Whether on purpose or inadvertently, the candidates have a way of showing their hand. Candidates are asked hard questions whose answers shine light on their true agenda.
  • Evaluate What’s Important. If there is a subject that is vital to your daily life or the lives of your loved ones, how a candidate will handle their power on that issue is of utmost importance when considering them as a candidate. To know if they are the candidate for you, you must first know what’s important to you. You can’t know if they come down on the right side of an issue, if you don’t know what issues matter to you, personally.
  • Check Their Record. If they are currently in politics, check and see how they actually voted on issues important to you, and not just what they say is their position on the subject.

Many media outlets can be biased. While the news should be impartial, their reporting sometimes can be skewed and in favor of one candidate or political party. Their information can be a jumping off point, but do your own research to make the decision of whom will represent you in office. There is more than one political office which carries great power to affect our lives in America. Do you really want to make a decision on who gets that power without all of the facts? Arm yourself with knowledge, and take full part in the American political process! Happy voting.

Turn Key Process: Getting Your Charlotte Rental Property Rent Ready

Sherkica Miller-McIntyre - Wednesday, January 20, 2016

 

During the turn key process, we evaluate the home and all of its needs in order to allow a new tenant to move in.


A part of this process is to determine if there is any damage beyond normal wear and tear that was caused by the previous tenant. We do this by evaluating the last tenant’s move in inspection sheet and our new move out inspection sheet.


Any of the items that would be considered normal wear and tear such as small painting scuffs, carpet cleaning and appliance cleaning are all part of the process of getting your property ready for the next tenant. These are things we would normally take care of to ensure your new tenant is moving into a home that’s in excellent condition.


A detailed explanation of our turn key process is available to our owners before you hire us as your professional property manager. If you have any questions, please contact us at Carod Properties, and we’d be glad to tell you more.

Rent Increases

Sherkica Miller-McIntyre - Thursday, January 14, 2016

Rent increases are something that many renters dread. That may even be a question that you ask before signing, while considering a rental. It’s a good question, but we must warn against not choosing a potential home based on the answer to that question. Even if a landlord advises no rent increases or offers a tentative schedule of increases, there will likely be some legal language in their lease that will allow for increase as their fiscal needs change.


Why the Increase?


A property owner rents for several different reasons. They may have bought the property specifically as an income property, wanted to sell but could not, or inherited the property with no desire to live in it. Regardless of choice or circumstance, they are now in the investment property business. And, that’s just what it is a business. Yes, for you it’s “home” but you must not lose sight of the fact that for your landlord it is a part of their business and they must make decisions accordingly. A prudent landlord will decide on things like rent increases with his bottom line in mind, but also, with thoughts of retaining his current residents.


Inescapable Reasons


Many landlords will only defer costs to their tenants that arise with a direct connection to the property. In other words, it’s not good business to raise a tenant’s rent because little Susie needs braces. A more plausible, ethical reason would be a homeowner’s insurance rate increase. Others might be:


  • Property tax increase
  • Improvements to the property
  • Tax/Legal action against the property
  • Cost of living
  • The market/industry dictates

The last two may not seem like good enough reasons for your landlord to raise your rent, regardless of notice given or the language provided in your initial lease agreement. It makes perfect sense once you remove the personal angle. Every other business, including your employer, makes fiscal changes based on changes in the economy. As gas prices rise, so is the cost for landscaping. As the cost of anything that impacts a company rises, they defray their costs by changing their prices. So, as the cost of owning and maintaining an investment property rises, owners will have to make tough decisions regarding rental rates.


A landlord that never increases rent may do so because they are already priced higher than the market dictates and they know it. Some are able to do so because the demand is higher than the supply. When people are desperate to find a place, with little to choose from the landlord can set prices as they see fit. When the market does not favor the investor, rent prices reflect: the features of the rental (# of bedrooms, square footage, etc.), what is needed to make the venture profitable for the investor (mortgage payment – rent received = profit), and what is being charged for comparable properties in the same geographic area.


Before you make the impetuous and emotional decision to move/terminate your lease because the landlord gave notice of a pending rent increase, consider all of the factors. The landlord’s decision was most likely not made lightly. Flipping a property for a potential future rental is not as cost-effective as retaining occupancy of a current renter. Also, establishing a home is not the simplest of tasks. You don’t want to start all over because you’ve lost sight of the “why” in the scenario of a rent increase. Think about it and maybe just set aside a few extra dollars each month to budget for the possibility of a rate increase. Push comes to shove, you’ll be well on your way to the deposit for your next home. And, the cost of changing all of your utilities. And, moving costs. And… See?

Tenant Damage vs. Normal Wear and Tear – Rental Property Maintenance in Charlotte

Sherkica Miller-McIntyre - Wednesday, January 13, 2016

 

As your professional property manager, one of the largest parts of our day to day responsibilities is to handle tenant maintenance requests.


Written Repair Requests


Our office requires that all tenants submit their maintenance requests in writing. In general, most tenants will email requests to our office or their preference is to log into their tenant portal on our website and submit their maintenance request directly into the portal.


Evaluating the Issue


At scheduling, each maintenance request is evaluated to determine the cause and effect of that particular maintenance or repair issue. We get details from vendors, home warranties and even directly from owners if they prefer to do the repair themselves. In this manner, we are able to determine if a tenant is responsible for any damage or if the maintenance is considered normal wear and tear of the property.


Each maintenance request is held on file during the tenancy and each circumstance is handled on a case by case basis when the tenant is responsible.


As your professional property manager, we do our best to maintain your property and handle all maintenance requests promptly. If you have any questions about this, please contact us at Carod Properties.

Should My Charlotte Property be Pet Friendly? Tips for Landlords

Sherkica Miller-McIntyre - Tuesday, January 05, 2016


Carod Properties is a pet friendly company. Our office manages single family residences, so every landlord we work with has the option of allowing pets or not allowing pets. However, our overall recommendation is that pets be allowed.


Pet Restrictions and Fees


Our pet policy is that animals are permitted as long as they are less than 50 pounds. We also require the tenant to pay a nonrefundable $500 pet fee to the owner, and we need to be sure the pet is not included on the list of aggressive dog breeds.


Prior Notice of Pets


Tenants who are pet owners are welcome to reside in one of our properties that allow pets. We ask for prior notice of your pet before you sign the lease. Tenants need to understand that at any time during the tenancy if we find a pet that has not been approved, the tenant may be required to remove the pet and still pay the nonrefundable $500 pet fee.


Pet Damage


Owners often ask if that pet fee will cover all the potential damages. There is no way to tell until the tenant moves out. Pets are wonderful parts of our families. But they have been known to cause damage to rental properties. There might be pet stains on the carpet or scuffing on the walls or chewing on drywall. Sometimes, pets will dig in the yard.


Every landlord has the option of electing whether or not to have a pet friendly home. If you have any questions about pet policies or what to do, please contact us at Carod Properties, and we’ll tell you more about how to manage pets.

What is the Cost of Property Management in Charlotte, NC?

Sherkica Miller-McIntyre - Wednesday, December 30, 2015

 

One of the most important questions a potential client will have for Carod Properties is regarding our fee structure. Like many property management companies in Charlotte, our office has a set up fee, a monthly property management fee and a tenant marketing fee.


Set Up Fee


The set up fee is paid upon contract and it covers your initial marketing, the initial move in inspection and getting you set up in all of our software. This fee also covers getting your future tenant set up in our system.


Management Fee


The monthly management fee is a flat fee. This fee ranges from $85 per month to $115 per month based on the initial rental amount of your property.


Marketing Fee


Our marketing fee is charged per tenant and we do not charge this fee until after your initial tenant is placed.


All of our fees will be clearly outlined in more detail in your property management contract. They are also negotiable, based on the number of homes you bring to Carod Properties for management once you become our client.


If you have any questions about the cost of professional property management or the way we charge our clients, please contact us at Carod Properties.

How to Be a Good Landlord – Charlotte Property Management Advice

Sherkica Miller-McIntyre - Wednesday, December 23, 2015

 

As a property management company in Charlotte, one of the things we do is to find good landlords who we want to work with as clients. Individuals come to us as prime investors, novice investors and future landlords. Sometimes, people find themselves in situations where they have gained a property or they are unable to sell their property, so they want to earn money on it by renting it out.


In all these cases, we are looking for landlords who are totally engaged in this process. That means landlords who understand that their home is their most valuable asset and one of the most expensive things they will own outside of their primary residence.


We are looking for individuals who want to communicate with us on a regular basis and are willing to act on any recommendations we find that would allow their property to grow as an asset. Some landlords believe they should only do limited things. However, that’s not necessarily true. There are a lot of things that a landlord can do to extend the life of their property and increase its value while making the house profitable and marketable to potential occupants.


Our recommendations are for clients to do small things that ensure the asset is protected. One way to protect the property is with home inspections. Many clients ask their property managers to do a simple walk through of the property. That’s great to get a look at how the tenant is caring for the house. However, a home inspection is important to get to the bones and the meat of a property. An inspector can check for roof looks and potential issues with plumbing. These things are probably not caused by tenants, but to an individual just doing a walk through, these problems can go unseen.


Provide landscaping services or enhance your lawn by giving a tenant planted flowers. Paint the property every five or seven years, and put down new carpet. When you do these things for a tenant who is already in place, you’re providing incentives to stay. You’re letting that tenant know that you’re a good landlord who is willing to keep the property up.


We want to work with good landlords. If you’d like to hear more about how to be one of those good landlords, you can contact us at Carod Properties.

What Does a Charlotte Property Manager Do?

Sherkica Miller-McIntyre - Wednesday, December 16, 2015

 

New clients often ask us what we do as property managers. Most individuals believe that our sole purpose is to collect rent. However, property managers do a lot more than that. Our biggest job is to communicate effectively, properly and efficiently.

 

Landlord Liaison


As property managers, we serve as liaisons between the landlord and the tenant. We also liaise between the landlord and vendors, homeowner associations, attorneys, and in some cases, banks. It’s our goal to ensure any information that is pertinent to the home’s safety, longevity and clients is quickly and promptly delivered to the landlord

 

Landlord Relationships


Our goal at Carod Properties is to build a relationship with our owners. In doing so, effective communication is important. We communicate small things such as a tenant request for new flowers as well as large issues like the need for a roof repair. Owners trust us to provide clear, concise and transparent information so they have the opportunity to continue building their asset and to trust that we are doing what we need to do in order to make this a profitable situation for the landlord.

 

Tenant Relationships


Tenants get confused about who we work for. We work for the landlord, but we also work hard to build strong relationships with our tenants so we can provide good information to our owners in reference to any concerns the tenants may have. These strong relationships result in better communication. Tenants are willing to come to us with maintenance concerns about the property or their ability to pay rent. In turn, we can communicate with landlords so they are able to make the best decisions possible about their property.


Property managers do more than collect rent. We keep owners and tenants in a win/win situation.


If you have any questions, or you’d like to hear more about the services a professional property manager can provide, please contact us at Carod Properties.

Importance of Staging

Sherkica Miller-McIntyre - Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Depending on whom you ask, you can get several and disparate answer to the question of the single most important thing when trying to sell or even rent a home. Most industry experts will agree, that when important things are listed, staging should be near the top of every list.


There are many benefits of staging a property (for sale or rent) which are statistically proven to far outweigh any expense, compared to the resulting quality property enhancement. Home staging, as an industry, has been the subject of much discussion and analysis. As a practice, it has shown itself to be one of the best, cost-efficient investments a seller can make in efforts to increase the marketability of their property.


What staging does:


  • Defined spaces. If you have a smaller property or a larger property with large undefined spaces, staging shows potential buyers/renters how the space can be used.
  • Spatial planning. Nothing shows that a master bedroom can manage a California king-sized bed, like having a California king bed in the room. The same goes for an 8-foot long table in the dining room, or an oversized sectional in the family room. Staging is not just for selling. The same aspects would be true for a rental. Properly staged and defined spaces show people just how they could use the home. You don’t want to lose a buyer/renter after hearing them say, “Our bed won’t fit in here,” or “What would we do with all of this space?”
  • Quick sell: Maybe the biggest staging benefit is the ability to sell a property far faster than the comparables in your area. In fact, properly staged properties sell up to 2 to 2 ½ times faster than unstaged real estate. In a seller's market, this can mean an incredibly quick sale. $$$! In a buyer’s market, this will give your property an edge over much of the competition, making your home the first to sell/rent, even when compared to other properties that may have other desired features that yours does not.

You can chose a full home staging service, undertake DIY staging or hire a property staging consultant. However, you can't afford to not stage your home. People who put off staging to save time or money virtually always regret their decision. Whatever type of staging you elect, choosing at least one option is paramount! You don’t have to invest a lot of time or money, because even the most basic attempt will pay aesthetic dividends. Staging is truly a case of spending money (time and/or effort) to make money. Invest in the success of your investment. Carod Properties is always here to help.

3 C’s of Tenant Screening

Sherkica Miller-McIntyre - Sunday, December 06, 2015

There are many things you have to always keep in mind when you get into real-estate investing. One of the most important things is that an empty property is always a loss. Maintaining occupancy is paramount. Key in the effort to maintain occupancy, is getting the right tenants. To do that, you must implement an accurate, thorough screening process into your business’ best practices.


The value of properly screening potential tenants is immeasurable. It’s not simply a measure to keep out riff-raff. Doing your due diligence to screen a prospective resident can make or break you in the rental industry for several reasons. Some of which are:


  • Credit: Life happens and people’s credit score may fluctuate. But, there’s no getting around the fact that a low credit score, and/or an unstable credit history demonstrates a likely inability to stay current with rent payments.
  • Criminal History: Again, life happens and some even advise to disallow even the smallest offense. Here is where you can have built-in protocols for what to allow and disallow. But, for the safety of your other tenants and the surrounding neighborhood, a criminal background check is a must. At least evaluate whom to lease to, with a criminal history, on a case by case basis.
  • Consistency: Rental history is an absolute must. NO EXCEPTIONS! We’ve said once or twice in this article, but it bears repeating…life happens. Tenants lived somewhere before considering your property. Life. What should be of concern to you and looked into further is how many places they’ve lived and their rate of turn over. They could have excellent credit, and background is pure as the driven snow but every year—or even worse, shorter than a normal term of lease—they change addresses. Now, they could have valid reasons for every move they’ve made, but their reasons are not as important as the frequency with which life happened to them. In other words, if consistent long-term occupancy is your goal, then a prospective tenant that will be gone after one lease term is not the optimal candidate.

If you are new to investing, many things that we advise of, if not learned before you buy your property, will be learned over time. There are apps and software you can buy to aid in your screening of tenants. There are also companies, online or brick and mortar, which you can hire. Until you are up to speed with the ins and outs of rental property investing, a good rule of thumb is to ask those in the know. In this instance, that would be a realtor that specializes in property management. Carod Properties is always here to help!

Before You Raise the Rent…

Sherkica Miller-McIntyre - Monday, November 02, 2015

We hear it every day, across many industries. Prices are being raised because of the economy. My prices for…EVERYTHING are being raised, therefore the prices I charge for my goods and services must, too, be raised. It is a fact of life and very common in business. Investing in real estate is not just retirement security, or a means to make ends meet. Whether you have 1 or 100 properties, real estate investment is a business. With all of that in mind, raising of rent must be done with great thought and analysis, if at all.


If at all? Yes. Your market may not favor a raising of rent, for current or even prospective tenants. Some investors will raise rent every year, at lease renewal time for their current residents. This accomplishes two things: sets a precedent for the possibility of a rent increase; and, since word-of-mouth is such a powerful tool, that same precedent that is set for current tenants lays the groundwork for prospective tenants to know that rent increases are always a possibility. But, the “annual rent increase” methodology is a matter of degrees. The need for rentals is constant and therefore demand is high. In these situations, you must remain competitive while trying to stay profitable. Just because the demand is high, don’t forget the supply can be also. Make your increases fit with what your local market can handle.


There are 3 things you should remember when considering a raise increase:


  1. Affordability. Your first consideration should be local housing affordability. This can easily be obtained through a local property management company or Realtor. They can advise of fair market rents in a particular area. Remember, rents can only rise until affordability (what potential renters can/will pay in your area) peaks. Affordability is right when a monthly rent is approximately a third of the median take home pay for a household. Once it raises above this point investors are likely to experience vacancies and/or late rent payments, as affordability has peaked. Another great tool is Rent-o-meter. This is a tool that will tell you what other homes have recently rented for in your area. (*Also this tool is a great asset when buying property to make sure your anticipated rents are in line with the market.)
  2. Availability. One thing to never forget when investing in real estate, is that what’s happening in one area or market cannot be applied in every area or market. Some larger cities can build and build and build and seem to always have a bottomless pool of potential renters. A good way to gage if your market indicates favorability of rent increase, is to monitor building permit activity. If the market is saturated, maintaining occupancy is more important than raising rent. If you need help with this, consult a Realtor.
  3. Renter-to-Population Ratio. When an area has a larger ratio of renters, this area can be thought of as a safe haven for investors. In this circumstance, the landlord is holding all the cards. An invaluable source to discern your area’s renter ratio is an interactive map provided by the U.S. Department of Commerce. When you know that there is a surplus of renters, you can decide if a rent increase is feasible or ill-advised.

A few dollars extra rent, given the tips above, can be the cost of living shot in the arm that your real estate venture needs. However, don’t do it arbitrarily and when it’s contraindicated. There’s a saying, “Pigs get fat, and hogs get slaughtered.” Eloquent, right? Simply put, don’t get greedy! Make adjustments to rent, not only according to your cost benefit analysis but also when and if the market can bear it. Whether a little or a lot, an improper increase may prompt tenants, current and future, to compare your rental against all others. If your increase was not dictated by the market, you may lose the comparison and in turn your renter.

Home Energy Hogs

Sherkica Miller-McIntyre - Monday, October 26, 2015

There are things that you can’t control about your tenants. One can only make the best possible rental property, market and screen the best possible tenants, and then hope for the best. Of course, there are things that you can try to anticipate and prepare for, but there will always be unseen and unexpected variables. It is a good rule of thumb, while making the best rental, to make the things that are “out of your control” less of an inconvenience. One of those things, is energy consumption. A primary question on the minds of most prospective tenants is, “How is the unit on energy?” Basically, what can they expect in the way of utility bills. They may not even ask, but do their research and get the information from the utility companies directly.


Energy Hogs


You may be under the impression that how energy consumption is applied in a rental is solely the tenants’ responsibility. Not always. There is the case of furnished units. Although, even if your unit comes unfurnished, it’s good to know what may have a negative impact on your tenant’s bottom line…and, in turn yours. Your bottom line, because if energy efficiency is a known issue for your properties, you may very quickly face an inability to secure and maintain occupancy. Little known and more widely known energy hogs are:


  • Ceiling Fans: They may seem like an economic and an aesthetically pleasing addition but they can really tack onto the electricity costs. One is not that costly, but newer homes are beginning to add them in multiple rooms, touting air circulation. There are updated, more efficient alternatives. Experts estimate of savings of 84% if current fans were replaced with the latest cooling alternatives.
  • Electronics: What can Mario Brothers or the family microwave really do? Any item that is used frequently and thusly plugged in continuously can add to electricity costs. Microwaves, personal computers and the more widely used (across different formats: movie watching, internet surfing, etc.) video game consoles are a constant drain on electricity. If all of the video game consoles used the best available technology, energy use would be 87% lower.
  • Chargers: For every electronic in a home, there is an equally draining charger or power adaptor that goes along with it. Laptops, cellular phones, tablets all have chargers that are usually plugged in all the time, especially given the technology of mobile chargers. These devices continue to draw energy, even when their devices are disconnected as long in the electrical outlet.

What You Can Do


First and foremost, in the renovation process, make your properties as energy efficient as possible. Replace windows, implement Energy Star appliances, and servicing and routinely maintaining HVAC systems should be as big a priority as any cosmetic additions. Be mindful of choices you make that may detrimentally effect the enjoyment of your rental property. Lastly, make disclosures about what could impact utility costs. If certain appliances aren’t included, advise in writing the cost-saving recommendations that were provided above. And, if you install or keep pre-installed ceiling fans, disclose that they are there to defray cooling costs but judicious use is recommended. Keep these things in mind and energy hogs won’t eat away at your profits!

Disaster Preparedness

Sherkica Miller-McIntyre - Friday, October 09, 2015

Seasons change four times a year. As it is such a part of our lives, making changes along with the seasons have become routine. Spring and summer…change out clothes. Fall and winter…change out clothes and maybe a little weather proofing of our homes and vehicles. The recent disaster-level flooding experienced, to varying degrees, across the southeast should have been a reminder that things aren’t always routine. Though, some extreme weather conditions can’t be foreseen nor planned for, there are steps we can take and things we can each remember to keep our families safe and minimize loss.


Of course, there are things that may only apply in specific conditions, but there are some things will almost always apply and therefore, should be kept in mind:


  • Have a plan. Make sure your family knows what to do, where to go and whom to call in all cases. Also have a plan for how you will quickly pack and carry necessities and keepsakes should you have to quickly evacuate (waterproof totes, emergency bag for: change of clothes for the family, toiletries, thumb drive with vital information, important documents).
  • Supplies. Stock up on water, non-perishables, paper products, flashlights & batteries, and candles. When there’s a weather advisory, you don’t want to have to fight the crowds to get what you will need, or worse, miss out! *It’s also a good idea to keep a small supply for the unexpected (In your car, and in an accessible, dry space in your home).
  • Stay tuned in. Invest in a weather radio; one that charges electrically and uses batteries. If you are not aware of what these are, they are radios that help you stay advised of and ahead of extreme weather conditions and changes. They also send out an alarm if something like a tornado, hurricane, etc. is in your area.
  • GPS. GPS apps and features on your phone help keep you connected, much like the weather radio. If you disable these features, then you can’t be alerted to storms in your area because your area is unknown.
  • First-aid kits. You never know how someone can get hurt when the unexpected happens. Arm yourself with the ability to help until professional help arrives. Again, this should be done in your vehicle and home.

Thinking about what danger may befall us should Mother Nature get cranky may not be on out “to-do” list, but when it becomes imperative and necessary, it may be too late. Think about it now when it is on our minds thinking of friends and family who’ve lost everything in places like Columbia, SC. Now, when we can think clearly and leave no I undotted or T uncrossed, is the time to plan. Carod Properties sends our thoughts and prayers to those rebuilding after the floods. God be with you!

Hiding Your Stash

Sherkica Miller-McIntyre - Monday, October 05, 2015

Have you seen the movie where Mark Wahlberg and a crew of highly skilled thieves partner with Charlize Theron to crack into an almost impenetrable safe? A piece of fine equipment, in real life terms, probably costing thousands if not tens of thousands of dollars. A little out of reach of the average American trying to protect the pair of 25th anniversary earrings from their husband or the life insurance paperwork. Yet, we each have something—a family heirloom, a keepsake from your children’s infancy, or your great-grandmother’s China—that you want to keep not just out of sight but under lock and key.


Maybe it’s not even something as significant as an irreplaceable family treasure. Maybe it’s the (legal) weapon that you’ve purchased to protect your home and family. There are clever and some practically fool-proof methods you can employ without breaking the bank. Some that you may wish to look into, are:


  • Interior of a door. If your door is wood, you can drill a hole in the top (the size of a shotgun shell) that can hold a small items like flash drives with important information and even small rolls of money.
  • Behind art/wall hanging. A niche can be cut into the drywall, and art can be placed on hinges. The art will sit flush to the wall and the recessed niche can house items as large as your niche—safe boxes, weapons, paperwork, etc. This type of niche can also be used as a jewelry box providing ease of access, but constant protection
  • The fridge. You can purchase a small safe, say the size of a small head of lettuce, and actually hide in the leaves of a head of lettuce. Also, large jars can be useful once emptied. For example, when you finish a jar of mayonnaise, KEEP THAT JAR! Then you can paint the inside white, make a few appropriately place scratches for authenticity, and voila…another fridge hiding place.
  • A false book shelf. Well, it doesn’t have to false. Please place books on it. On a larger scale that the hidden wall niche, you can have a cut out into a wall that has some extra space behind it. Build out a simple, large niche that can house a safe, keepsakes, etc., and then attach the shelf to hinges that can open like a door but looks like any old book shelf against a wall.

A couple of these require renovations that you may not be permitted to make or are unable to make, for whatever reason. However, others are simple solutions to a fixable problem. This info is just a jumping off point that hopefully inspired you to find a way to hide your stash. By all means, keep your money in a bank. No mattress banking suggested. You could even invest in a safety deposit box. However, for things you would like to have more readily available, try these useful tools and techniques to keep those keepsakes safe and secure at home.

Maximizing ROI for Sell

Sherkica Miller-McIntyre - Monday, September 28, 2015

If you are a small investor, one or two properties, you may not have the insight of an investor that has a more vast real estate portfolio. Not to worry. Carod Properties embodies professionalism in the spirit of excellence, and as such, we want to make sure every investor has the knowledge to make their small investment strategy just as profitable as the major investor. A few simple methods, before and after purchase, can almost ensure that you make a maximum profit when selling.


Every property investor does not have intentions of long-term investment. “Flipping” is a term that has become synonymous with purchasing real estate with the intention of selling for immediate profit. While the term is essentially what happens, most “flippers” look for property with minor, cosmetic fixes for quick and an often less than substantial profit. While there is profit to be had this way, having a strategy that will garner a better profit and allows for the ability to change your exit strategy, is a different investment strategy altogether.


When you buy a property, only for an eventual sell, it limits what you are able to do and is not always a wise investment. The real estate market fluctuates. What comparables are when you purchase may be dramatically different when you’re ready to sell; and, not always to your benefit. For example, if you purchase a home for $150,000 in March with the intention of putting $20,000 into renovations and upgrades with a 30 day timeline, all-in is $170,000 plus closing costs. Your break even could be $185,000 or more. However the market shifted, and the homes in the area that were all selling for $200K+ are now 10-15% less. Now, you can’t sell without losing money. A flipper would be lost because they only planned to carry the mortgage until they sold…quickly. A different investor, although they want to sell, will set themselves up to still make profits. To do that, you have to, again, make wise decisions before and after purchase.


A few things you can do, to hopefully prepare for every eventuality, to sustain profits in the interim if unable to sell or maximize your ROI (Return on Investment) upon sell, are:


  • Tried and true method of buying the worst house in the best neighborhood, works more often than not. The ugly duckling in an area with great schools, parks, proximity to entertainment, access to public transportation or freeways, is going to almost always give you a great bang for your buck on sell once renovated.
  • Outdated=unsellable. Fixtures and subpar materials, even if once quite popular, are dealbreakers! Shag carpet, brass fixtures, linoleum, rundown elements are sometimes easy fixes that absolutely need to be addressed.
  • Bathrooms are like gold. Fixtures, dual vanities, separate tub & shower, and square footage are like a license to print money. Don’t skimp. Also if the property is perfect in every way but only has one bathroom, the investment of even adding a half bath will be well worth it when it’s time to sell.
  • If bathrooms are like gold, kitchens are platinum! It is being seen more and more, that even a buyer that doesn’t cook, will pay for a quality kitchen. Quality translates into stone countertops, tile floors, stainless steel appliances, and more. It may sound crazy, but it’s true. What does a “take-out” king or a “domestic goddess” that specializes in mac-n-cheese and chicken nuggets need with a chef’s kitchen? It doesn’t matter if it doubles the amount of your investment to make it happen, do it!
  • Curb appeal. One simple thing to consider. If a buyer won’t even go inside the home because of the exterior, you’ve lost a sell before you’ve even begun. From the curb in the front to the fence around your backyard, all require attention.

When fully considering sell of a property, investing in the best upgrades maybe the only time it is advisable for a potential rental. With intentions of only renting a property, you’re advised to take personal out of it, forget what you would want in a rental, and just make wise decisions for potential constant turnover. However, when you may be renting in short term, waiting on a market shift, your renovations need to be made with understanding of what will get maximum Return on Investment at the time of sell. Carod Properties is here to help you maximize those profits, just call.

Rental Insurance?

Sherkica Miller-McIntyre - Friday, September 18, 2015

Accidents happen. As a landlord, you will find that abundantly true. Through no fault of your own, or even your tenant’s, things will happen that will require some measure of financial remedy. Some property owner’s either provide insurance or build a certain amount into the rent. There are several valid reasons, whether you provide this or not, to require or strongly advise that renter’s insurance is needed.


Renter’s insurance, by definition, is protection against damage and/or destruction of tenant’s personal property. The reasons experts recommend that it be required of tenants is of benefit to the renter and the property owner. Some of those reasons are:


  • The property owner’s insurance is built to resolve damages and issues with the building. It does not address damages to tenant property or expenses they may occur while damages are resolved.
  • Some rental policies protect against loss of property away from the property in question. For example, if the tenant has suffered a loss of their vehicle (i.e., wreck, repairs) that will prevent them from paying their rent, renter’s insurance may aid in that situation.
  • The renter may often receive discounts for having multiple types of insurance coverage.
  • It’s relatively inexpensive. For a policy that provides $15,000 in property damage and $100,000 in liability, can cost as little as $200 per year. That’s nothing compared to the peace of mind gained in protection against potential disaster.
  • When you require renter’s insurance, should a problem arise, there won’t any need to worry about the issues they may encounter. This will then put little to no strain on the landlord tenant relationship during an already stressful time.

If you, as the landlord, do not feel comfortable requiring it, for your protection, provide it. Before approving a rental application, some property management companies even require proof of insurance before the application can be approved. In a continued effort to follow Carod Propertie’s industry-leading advice, protect your investment. However you go about it, protecting the tenant and the landlord with insurance is a prudent expenditure for peace of mind!

Gentrification: Good or bad investment?

Sherkica Miller-McIntyre - Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Gentrification has become one of the latest buzzwords to inundate the American business world. Along with hipsters and Starbucks, the concept of gentrification is spreading like wildfire. As the population of cities increase, baby boomers head south, and real estate is the new [old] way to show status, urban areas that have fallen on hard times have become likely places to invest and renew. While any investment holds some level of risk, real estate being no different, investing in a gentrified neighborhood might hold some risks that differ from any other real estate investment.


First, to define gentrification. Gentrification: the process of renewal and rebuilding accompanying the influx of middle-class or affluent people into deteriorating areas that often displaces poor residents. First used in 1964, it typifies wealthy investors moving into areas inhabited by lower income residents, prompting an urban renewal [influx of businesses whose services and prices cater to higher income residents] that prices the current residents out of the neighborhood.


With any investment, there are pros and cons. Accordingly, the must be thoroughly analyzed that you may better assess the risk, and maximize the reward. The inability for families and businesses to be able to afford things like services and taxes as the neighborhood is revitalized is the most unsettling aspect of the process. As an investment you may not wish to involve yourself in something that may inadvertently displace people and businesses that have been in the area for generations. Also, the neighborhood may not turnaround as expected. So, the equity that was potentially immediately available for the refurbished property might not be as great as initially predicted. Lastly, the human factor. Gentrification has faced great opposition in some cases. Displaced residents have garnered media coverage and tried to fight gentrification through legislation. For some investors, that’s a headache they’d rather avoid.


The pros are just as many and varied as the cons. A simple pro, for the neighborhood, is improvement. Generally, there are as increase of new businesses, decrease in crime, and influx of services offered—either by local government that is trying to improve an area or by social programs geared toward bettering things for the residents. If you get past the socio-economic ramifications, gentrification usually translates into quick equity and self-marketing. The same improvements you could do on a new piece of real estate in another area could mean a dramatically higher return in an area going through urban renewal. These areas are popular and you, as an investor, would have to exert little or no effort in selling or leasing a property. Not every gentrification effort is geared at displacing low income residents to bring about “improvement. You could be get in on the ground floor of a reawakening of a neighborhood, and make money in the process.


There are different types and levels of gentrification. Some efforts bring in artists and programs that want to better the targeted neighborhood, for those that are already there. They better or create schools, help garner private and public funds for much need improvement, and have no attention of displacing anyone. Given the pros and cons indicated, as an investor, you need to look at both, be realistic about your investment and financial goals, and make an informed decision. The best way to protect your portfolio and all of your investments, is to know all of the facts and. Carod Properties is here to help.

Who Does Property Manager Work For?

Sherkica Miller-McIntyre - Monday, August 24, 2015

As an owner working with a property manager, be it an individual under your employ or an outsourced company, they are the face of your real estate venture to tenants. While hiring a property manager or company is highly recommended, it should be explicitly noted whom the property manager works for. Doing this is to the benefit of the tenant, the manager and your investment. By clearly discerning the manager’s responsibilities, capabilities, and limitations you will give prospective and current tenants a guideline for expectations and make they’re experience as a resident of your property a good one.


Property management is not for the faint of heart. Not every landlord or property owner is cut out for the complaints and unpredictable hours that are a part of the job description. Accordingly, once hired, property managers’ aim is to keep a property leased and the renters happy. However, though the managers are the face of the company in relation to the tenant, keeping tenants happy is a means to the end of satisfying the owners.


There are ways to remind the tenants that, while “the customer is always right,” the customer in this particular equation is the property owner.


  • Hire an experienced property manager. They should keep your [landlord] wishes paramount. They should be able to echo the mission and direction of the company, think well in the absence of constant contact with the landlord, and be well-versed in the handling of your particular property type [apartment, duplex, single-family home, etc.) and the common issues that arise.
  • Language of your lease agreement. After you’ve hired the perfect property manager for your property, hire someone knowledgeable with contracts to draw up your lease agreement. While the manager works with tenants, firsthand, their focus should be on the day to day running of the property. As such, they are not the optimal resource for making sure your lease covers you in all instances, seen an unforeseen. A proper agreement, meant to protect you and your tenants, will lay out what the manager does on your behalf and is not permitted to do. The language of the agreement will be such that it removes most instances of confusion on the part of the tenant of whom the property manager works for.
  • Minimize risk. There is usually something that falls through the cracks. Murphy’s Law, right? You hire a responsible, reputable property manager, have an experienced legal authority draw up your leasing agreement now…insure yourself against the tenant that looks for loopholes and/or tries to capitalize on them. Insurance is the last step in the landlord-property manager-tenant relationship.

Always, always, always protect your investment! You’re not taking anything away from your tenants by ensuring that they know the way things work. When you follow the advice of the experts, everyone involved will win from the situation and experience. Don’t sacrifice the success of your real estate venture by assuming that keeping the tenants happy, at all costs, is the best recourse. Living in a well-run property, where every effort is made to communicate how every relationship works and the roles of each party, will ultimately create a happy living experience for the tenant and a successful business venture for you!

Danger: Living beyond your means

Sherkica Miller-McIntyre - Friday, August 07, 2015

We’ve all done it, bought that pair of shoes when the budget is shaking its finger saying, “uh, uh, uh”. How many vacations are taken, each year, with bills piling up back at home? Or, moved into a new place that has everything you want…and the rent that goes with it? It’s a dangerous game of robbing Peter to pay Paul that, unfortunately, causes long-term obstacles to the really important things in life…like eating!


Living beyond your means translates into more than things being tight for a month or two. You’re hurting your financial future with every swipe of the card and even application for it, every bill or balance you carry over until the next month, and with every champagne purchase you make on your beer budget.


Excessive use of credit. Credit card debt is considered one of the most dangerous because it isn’t tied to an asset and comes with high interest. In fact, the interest rate is just part of the equation. There’s an overabundance of built-in charges. The damage to your credit score is the worst! Credit cards have 5 factors that affect your credit score [which affects everything else you do in life, financially]: payment history, amounts owed, length of credit history, new credit and credit type. And, of those, payment history is the biggest factor determining your credit score. Therefore, if you live off of your credit cards and are unable to consistently pay the debt, with each purpose you’re digging an insurmountable hole.


Unpaid bills. As stated above, unpaid bills can bring down your credit score and, in turn, your chances at getting approved for something essential like a car or house.


Unaffordable purchases. There’s a saying you “get what you pay for”. True, indeed. Conversely, you pay for what you get. Meaning, if you know you can only comfortably pay $300 a month for a car payment, all of your options need to fit into that equation. A luxury vehicle may be worth the price tag, but how many other things will have to suffer because you went top of the line luxury, when you can only afford economic practicality?


We’re not saying it’s easy. Life happens. It’s not just expensive trips and luxury cars. Unexpected expenses abound, from kids’ braces to broken refrigerators. With that being the case, saving money and credit cards for the Murphy’s Law happenings of life is much more advisable than another pair of shoes. Money can’t buy happiness, but get you a pretty good view of it. Make life easier, live what you can afford until what you can afford increases. It’s possible…all things are!

Back-to-School Preparedness

Sherkica Miller-McIntyre - Monday, August 03, 2015

Many things go into preparing your children, your home, and yourself for “Back-to-School” time. It can be overwhelming, especially if you have more than one child and even more still, if they are in different school and age groups. Though, you face the daunting task every year, Carod Properties wants to offer a bit of help to make this school year get off to a great start!


First, and foremost, start reprogramming them sooner rather than later. “Reprogramming,” you ask. Yes. Basically, we are referring to undoing some of the permissions and allowances of summer. For instance:


  • Schedules. Experts advise that younger children can need up to 10 hours of sleep to function at full capacity throughout the day. It’s no surprise that many parents don’t keep that schedule when there’s no school the next day. Don’t wait until the night before, or even the week before to start addressing “bedtimes”. Get those sleep schedules “reprogrammed” now. Schedules would also include eating. Your children won’t be able to run to the fridge at any given time once school starts. Their eating habits will affect energy and attentiveness throughout the school day. Make sure they get back to a regular schedule that will keep them energized and ready to learn.
  • Goals. Goalsetting is something that adults have trouble with, so kids are no different. Sit down with your child and go over how the year ended last year, successes and areas that have room for improvement, and give clear indications of what is expected of them. This is especially important with a school change. Providing an environment where dialogue is welcomed will help them know they can come to you with any issues they might have before they become full blown problems.
  • Family Time. Everyone does not have the opportunity for fun-filled summer vacations. Maybe a day or two here or there, but bills don’t stop because school is out and you may not have had the time to connect. So, before you add soccer practices, plays, homework and everything involved with children in school back into the mix, try to get some valuable family time in.

Of course, Back-to-School is school supply shopping, updating wardrobes and boring orientations. Remember all of the other little things that are also a part of the equation. And, for those that aren’t parents, you too have something to do to prepare for Back-to-School time. Prepare yourselves for more children in our streets; that means school bus stops and school zone’s speed limits. Let’s all be safe and mindful of our children and make this school year, the best year!

Tis Better to Give

Sherkica Miller-McIntyre - Monday, July 27, 2015

No, it’s not the Christmas season, but you read right. Tis better to give than to receive is a phrase that is often used and heard during the Christmas holiday season, but is a concept that benefits so many, in different ways year round. One way is Back-to-School. The end of summer is quickly approaching and our thoughts are turning to new book bags, updated wardrobes and school supplies. Wherever you live, whether school is the end of August or the beginning of September, parents everywhere are making lists, getting notices of orientations to find out specifically what their child needs to get the new year started off right!


That is, some parents. Every year as some parents decide what fashion trends to send their children back to school in, other parents are too busy dealing with other trials of life to be able to fret over those decisions. The 21 million students that count on school for a sure meal, hopefully make it through the summer with minimal need. When the time to return to school looms, they face a different need and most probably do year after year. The percentage of children living in poverty doesn’t just mean substandard living conditions. When it comes to how it affects their education it means: old, ill-fitting clothing; little to no school supplies and self-esteem issues.


So, the question is, “How can I help?” Give. Teachers are taking on more responsibility for stocking their classrooms, but they can’t do it all. Non-profits also help fill the need, but many non-profits are able to do less because the need continues to grow beyond their resources. So, here are a few things you can do to help fill an overwhelming need, and spread the tis better to give… sentiment beyond the Christmas season:


  • Social Media. Share sales when you see them (more people may give if the expense is more reasonable); share organizations where one can find help; and share giveaways for students, parents and teachers
  • Buy a Little Extra. Once you’ve identified where the best deals are, buy a little more than you need, at those great prices. Many places that have the drastic “Back-to-School” sales often have a bin for donations. You can toss a couple tablets in, a pack of t-shirts and help someone immensely.
  • Lists, Lists, Lists. Many elementary schools mail and provide lists of things that your child’s classroom needs for the year. Everyone does not contribute—either because they can’t financially or on principle. Those costs are often deferred to the teacher. Even if you don’t do more than your share, simply buying what your child is allocated will help their classroom and their teacher.
  • Organize a Drive. There can’t be too much help. If your church or community is wanting to donate to a drive or organization that is holding a drive, take that help to the next level and organize one yourself.
  • Sponsor a School. If you’ve organized a drive, instead of just giving your donation to a larger organization, find a school that is in need and possibly underserved and sponsor that school. Sponsoring can be a one-time thing, for a school year or even a longer commitment.

You, of course, can take the “not my responsibility” standpoint. It’s common, especially for those without school-aged children. However, if a simple thing like a couple pair of pants or a book bag filled with academic necessities will help set a child on the road to success, what could it hurt? It takes a village!

Keeping Dogs Safe

Sherkica Miller-McIntyre - Monday, July 20, 2015

There have been a lot of stories about intentional cruelty to animals. However, even pets with loving owners can fall victim to unintentional, life-threatening factors that we forget. For every heinous story of harm purposely brought to animals, it seems there is just as many tragic tales of avoidable ends to a beloved pet’s life. One such end, is the effects of heat. As temperatures climb, it is important that we remind ourselves of things we need to do to keep our fury friends safe. Especially, dogs, that are the main “family pet” that is kept outdoors. Heatstroke is a danger, for many and that danger increases with the heat. Animals have much fewer sweat glands than their human counterparts do. Their sweat glands are found primarily on the paws and nose. Pets most susceptible to heat stroke are ones with short noses, longer or thicker hair, and younger or older animals.


We must remember that many things that can adversely affect us, can also harm animals. So, the first step is to recognize if the steps that we’ve taken to shield and protect ourselves from the heat (or any weather for, for that matter) are applicable to our animals. The next obvious step would be no locked cars. A “quick minute” can quickly become longer than bearable for anyone, especially a pet unable to get relief. There are products that let animals, usually dogs, water themselves while in the car. But, ask yourself, if you’re in a car with windows up or cracked, how much relief would water bring you?


If your animal “lives” outdoors, shelter is a must! Plenty of shade, beyond that of any designated housing is necessary. When temperatures climb, even their houses will be of little help, without additional shade. Either the shade of your home or the nice shade of a large tree will bring much relief when the temperatures become too unbearable. The next, equally important thing would be, plenty of water. In order to protect your pet from the heat always provide plenty of fresh, cool, and clean water.


If you have a dog, and you try to provide them with the exercise they require, factor in heat when keeping up with their routines. Consider changing daily walks or outside time, when temperatures have not yet reached the maximum or after they’ve begun to lower. And, remember they are covered in fur; that’s an extra layer of insulation that we don’t have to consider when factoring what’s a comfortable temperature.


Another thing you may not have thought of, is grooming. Removing excess hair, frequently will help reduce the layers adding to your pets’ body temperature. Even when doing all these things, your pet may still succumb to extreme temperatures. You should familiarize yourself with the signs and have a plan in place to resolve any symptoms. There are some key signs to look for:


  • Severe panting even after rest
  • Excessive drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Seizures or lack of coordination

If you recognize any of the above signs, bring your pet in to cool, provide cool water, and place alcohol on foot pads. If symptoms do not subside within 20 minutes, seek medical assistance to avoid organ damage or worse. Carod Properties hopes all of you family is having a safe, healthy summer…even the four-legged ones!

Meatless Monday…Yay or Nay?

Sherkica Miller-McIntyre - Monday, July 13, 2015

Have you seen the commercial where the daughter is extolling the virtues of hummus? She explains how she got her dad to try it and he confesses, “I’d eat tree bark if you put --- hummus on it!” But, this is America. The commercial ends with him advising, “You know what it would be good on…MEAT!” In the U.S. we go through phases with, not necessarily diets, but food fads. Hummus is but one of the many meat substitutes increasing in popularity across the country. One of the other trends that is growing in popularity, for many reasons, is “Meatless Monday”. For those that don’t know what that is, it’s exactly what it says, no meat on Mondays.


Some do it to ease into vegetarianism, others to reduce the amount of meat in their diets, and others as a diet method to explore healthy alternatives. You may ask, “What good does one day do in the grand scheme of things? Good question. The easiest answer is, it’s a start. Many experts offer three benefits to incorporating “Meatless Monday” into your weekly dietary routines. They are: for your health, for your wallet, and for this giant 3rd rock from the sun (AKA Earth) on which we live.


  • Health. Reducing meat for a more plant-based diet—rich in vegetables, fruit and whole grains—helps reduce risks of heart disease and stroke, limit cancer risk, fight diabetes, and increase longevity.
  • Wealth. Your health will not only be better but your wallet will be fatter. The chronic diseases linked to poor diets account for 75% of the $2 trillion spent on medical care each year. Plus, meat is more expensive than a plant-based diet. While fruits and veggies may cost more than junk food, it’s often less than a diet centered around meat, as there are no costs for animal feed, processing and special transportation required.
  • Environment. While some may view vegetarianism or veganism as too extreme, there’s a less severe option of going pescatarian. Pescatarians only consume animal products that come from bodies of water. One reason is diet, but others are for environmental concerns. There are fewer of the harmful processing concerns involved with this particular diet. Meat consumption includes: vast amount of water for livestock (estimated 1,850 gallons of water to produce a single pound of meat vs. 39 gallons needed to produce a pound of vegetables), greenhouse gases, animal waste disposal, and energy consumption to produce grain for animal feed.

Vegetarianism, veganism, or even pescatarianism is not for everyone. However, given the benefits to your health, finances, and the environment “Meatless Mondays” is worth a try. This just might be the one fad that can actually save your life!

Racial Climate in America

Sherkica Miller-McIntyre - Thursday, July 02, 2015

You’d have to live under a rock…on the dark side of the moon to be unaware of the latest events in the U.S. sparking a great debate across the country. Daily, we are inundated with story after story about tragedies, aimed at Blacks that are adversely affecting life in America. Due to how this great nation began, we may never move past the question of equality of the races, nor ability or lack thereof for us to live as one. What is dumbfounding is the violence that accompanies the disdain that some have for the other. Violence begets violence, and nothing gets resolved. Mahatma Ghandi said it quite eloquently, “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.”


The visceral reaction to church arson, unchecked police brutality, and the senseless death toll from recent violence against Blacks is sadness. We think of the progress made in America since the Civil Rights Movement and immediately feel sorrow for the state of race relations, now, a half a century later! That sadness is not and should not be just on the part of Blacks, for it affects us all. How many people have had to have a difficult conversation with their family about what they’ve seen on the news? How many questions of “why” can you deflect because you have no answer? “It happens and probably always will”, is little comfort when it affects you personally.


We have to make the transition from sadness to anger. With sadness we make commentary, we analyze, and we internalize. At most, we make changes within ourselves, and allow ourselves to be placated by the temporary satisfaction. With anger we act! Not violently or spewing words of hate or vengeance. Do more than “like” something on social media. We must do more than “share” empty rhetoric. We must all come together in unity, across racial and political lines, and show a genuine and undeniable display that we will not be scared into hate. Our words, our actions, our response to hate must be love. Love for our family, love for our community, and love for our country. In so doing, we will find the answer to those questions of our children and in our own hearts. Some hate because they can, and we love because we can!


In closing, think about this, where would this world be if everyone hated? Conversely, where would we be if everyone loved? Happiness, love, progress…is a choice. Choose wisely!


“Injustice anywhere, is threat to justice everywhere.”
“We must learn to live together as brothers, or perish together as fools.”

~Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Independence Day

Sherkica Miller-McIntyre - Thursday, July 02, 2015

The 4th of July, Independence Day, is upon us. We could discuss what we’re doing for the fourth, or how it started, but this year we’d like to share why it was and is relevant to the type of government that epitomizes the idea of America. Independence Day is celebrated as the day the United States of America declared its independence from the British Monarchy.


The Declaration of Independence announced to the world the unanimous decision of the thirteen American colonies to separate themselves from Great Britain. The Declaration has three parts—the poignant Preamble, a list of charges against King George III, and a conclusion. The Preamble summarizes the principles of American self-government…for the people and by the people. The list of charges against the king presents examples of the violation of those principles. The stirring conclusion calls for duty, action, and sacrifice.


It is the conclusion that can be applied is these current, perilous times. The king is a tyrant, “unfit to be the ruler of a free people,” deaf to the pleas of justice and humanity. The Congress is forced to proclaim the colonies free and independent states, and the delegates pledge to each other their “Lives…Fortunes and…sacred Honor.” The nation, on this Independence Day, needs to call upon our government, to live and demonstrate the true spirit of this document—as was requested/declared from another entity that hindered America’s progress—and bring the people back together.

Safety in the Kitchen

Sherkica Miller-McIntyre - Monday, June 29, 2015

As June comes to a close, so does the Carod Properties National Home Safety Month blog series. We have shared valuable information on mold, child-proofing, and safety while away from home. Hopefully, you’ve gained some useful knowledge or reinforced knowledge you already possessed. To bring the series to a close we’d like share important tips on food safety, at home.


It seems like a week doesn’t go by when there’s not a news report of an E.coli outbreak or a salmonella scare. It’s frightening how many recalls there are a year on packaged food, not to mention the worries of food safety in restaurants. So, although America is a fast food nation, in fact we love convenience of any kind, many are preparing more meals at home and even growing their own! But, there’s still the issue of food safety. How can you protect yourself and your family from foodborne illness around your own table? Here are some tips:


  • Start at the store—Check for: cleanliness, keep your foods separated in the cart, check cans for bulges and dents (damaged cans affect the integrity and lessen ability for the sterilization process have the intended effectiveness), inspect frozen foods packaging also (should not be damaged or have signs of frost or ice crystals), choose fresh eggs carefully (not just cracks, but clean and refrigerated); & be mindful of time and temperature (make your grocery shopping your last stop and put foods away immediately upon returning home; food safety experts suggest a 2-hour rule because harmful bacteria can multiply in the danger zone—40ᵒ and 120ᵒF—perishable food should not be left at room temperature for more than 2 hours)
  • Wash your hands—proper hand hygiene can prevent nearly half of causes of foodborne illnesses
  • Prevent cross-contamination—Cross-contamination is the physical movement of harmful bacteria; don’t have different food types in the same area, especially raw (like cutting boards, use different ones for different things or thoroughly sanitize in between uses)
  • Don’t prepare food if ill—This seems simple enough, but the turned head to avoid coughing on the food is not enough…just go out that day or delegate the duties to someone else
  • Temperature—Cook food to proper doneness, don’t leave food out/refrigerate (bacteria begin to form as cooked food begins to come to room temperature)
  • Use proper storage—FDA does not require an expiration date for shelf-stable food…use good judgement, read labels and follow suggestions on how food should be stored, date foods you separate and package personally

If you’re going to do better, you must know better. As you can see, you don’t have to be a domestic goddess and grow and can your own food to ensure you know that you’re feeding your family healthy, safe food. You do, however, need to take some precautions so that what you are feeding them—from your home garden or your local grocery—won’t harm, just nourish! Stay safe!

Safety-Mold: 3 of 4

Sherkica Miller-McIntyre - Friday, June 19, 2015

MOLD. Let’s have a moment of silence. That simple four letter word, conjures up enough negative images, that words become unnecessary. However, once you hear it, in relation to your home, there are plenty of words that follow. Health hazard. Moisture problems. Repair. Remediation. If knowledge and prevention are not a part of your household routine, those words will quickly become a part of your life and a drain on your household budget.


Fortunately, since June is National Home Safety Month, we have information regarding that ugly 4-letter word that will hopefully keep the MOLD at bay.


Hazards

  • Produce toxins and irritants that cause health hazards
  • Compromises immune system if health problems already exist
  • Exacerbation of asthma (more frequent and severe attacks)
  • CDC even suggests causing asthma in children

Prevention

  • Unnecessary dampness is the enemy. You can’t mold-proof your home, but you can make it mold resistant. Questions to ask: Does the basement flood, what are potentially problematic areas, do you notice frequent condensation on upstairs windows, is there a stain on the ceiling or leaking during storms?
  • Dry wet areas immediately.
  • Prevent moisture with proper ventilation (bathrooms, laundry, & kitchen)
  • Equip your home with mold-resistant products (drywall, insulation, mold-inhibiting paints, etc.)
  • Have your air/heating ducts checked regularly. Mold spores can be spread from one source throughout your home through the air every time you turn on the heat or air.

Remediation

  • Get professional help. Without complete knowledge of how to remediate, you may not remediate completely or properly. In some cases, is mandated that you receive professional help to eradicate.

Mold is not all bad. It gives us cheese and penicillin. When it’s in your home—besides in a nice wrapper in the fridge or a tiny bottle in the medicine cabinet—it’s a much harder pill to swallow. Use the information above to prevent, control, and eradicate mold from your home. And, have a safe summer!

Home Safety Report Card: 2 of 4

Sherkica Miller-McIntyre - Thursday, June 11, 2015

Once again, Carod Properties wants to remind you that June is Home Safety Month. There are so many various aspects of home safety that can and need to be covered. In this article, we will explore “Child Proofing”. You don’t have to be one of those parents, to be vigilant about protecting your child and pets against seen and unseen dangers in the home. They don’t even have to be your children. There are steps one can take to make sure any child that enters your home will leave in good health.


Nursery. Even before they’re getting around on their own—crawling and/or walking, there are things you can do to baby-proof. You need to: keep the crib away from windows, curtains or blinds; the changing table should have a safety guard and any furniture should be bolted or at least turn over resistant.


Playroom. You need to secure electrical sockets; be vigilant over choking hazards, baby items and otherwise; limit furniture that may beckon climbing/falls; watch, again, for curtains and cords from blinds.


Staircases. These are one place that everyone is aware of the potential for danger. Install a securable baby gate. Furniture or some other makeshift obstacle won’t do. This is a worthy cause to opt for the best. Curious kids can be escape artists. They’ll try anyway, but make it hard for them.


Bathroom. When they’re youngest, chances are, they won’t be alone in the bath. However, things happen that briefly take you away. We’ve all heard of the ability to drown in an inch of water. There are water controls that keep little hands from turning on the hot water. A seat is now available, in and out of the bath, which sticks to the surface of the tub and hugs around their legs and keeps them in a safe, seated position. Of course, any and all effort must be made to lock away or move to an unreachable height any dangerous chemicals.


Kitchen. Ensure that knives and forks are stashed in cabinets that are higher up. Baby proofing the kitchen by using cabinet latches for all cabinets at the lower levels is recommended. Hide and seek should be kept away from chemical storing places like cabinets and pantries.


On average, 12,175 children 0 to 19 years of age died each year in the United States from an unintentional injury. Nothing is foolproof, but you can lessen the chance that your children will become a part of those statistics by doing your due diligence. Let’s be safe!

Home Safety Report Card: 1 of 4

Sherkica Miller-McIntyre - Thursday, June 04, 2015

June is home safety month. Although, we have covered this topic before, the consequences of not knowing and ensuring how to safeguard your home and family, dictate that we revisit the subject. This article will be the kickoff to a month-long series, helping you recognize and correct any shortfalls in the safety measures in place in your home.

Approximately 140 million go on some extended vacation during the summer. This is the perfect time for potential trespassers to wreak havoc. With classes finishing up for the kids, and the start of summer break looming, vacation plans are well under way. So, make your plans and reservations, pack up the RV, and bribe the kids for good behavior during travels. Then, take the vital step of preparing your home for your absence. How? For starters:


  • Social Media—limit what you share. It’s the current climate, in America, to share what’s happening in our lives via various forms of social media. Even with the “safety protocols” available as options on the different sites, criminals find their way onto your pages, and then into your lives and homes. Don’t help them out by having loose lips.
  • Lawn Maintenance—make sure to trim those hedges. Nothing makes a home more ripe for the picking than concealment. Your neighbors have lives, and though it may seem they’re always watching, they’re not. And, they can’t. However, when they can, make it easier for them and less easy for intruders by making sure access points are not shrouded by shrubbery.
  • Just Go!—enough said. Well, maybe not. If you know that you’ve done your due diligence—alarm, lawn maintenance, stopped the mail/newspapers—don’t undo all of that by broadcasting your absence. Just answer your emails and voicemails when you return. For goodness sake, no outgoing messages… “Hi, we’re finally touring French wine country! We won’t be back for 10 whole days! Aren’t you jealous? Leave a message!” Noooo!

These steps may be second nature for some, but unfortunately, not everyone thinks in “what ifs”. Carod Properties wants to make sure those that think it will never happen to them are prepared…just in case. We don’t want your summer ruined because we didn’t do all we could, by ensuring you did too! Have a happy, SAFE summer!

Non-Toxic Household Cleaners

Sherkica Miller-McIntyre - Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The world is changing! Things that were once considered trendy, are becoming mainstays in households across America. Everything from veganism to homeschooling is, daily, being added to the norms of American homelife. Hopefully not too late, our society is caring more about themselves and the planet. Better still, more and more are taking positive, beneficial steps to better both. And, it’s not only possible, it’s advisable.


One thing you can do, and that we all could benefit from doing, is changing how you clean. Allergies are commonplace, with differing opinions about why so many are being born with mild to severe intolerance to allergens in their environment. There is a school of thought that would trace most to toxins in our homes. One way to reduce the potential for allergic reactions to unknown and unseen dangers, in items we use every day, is to reduce the chemicals we use in our cleaning supplies.


Now, there are several companies that make earth-friendly, non-toxic products for home and commercial use. That is, after all, the American way. Supply and demand. As people search for alternatives to chemicals to clean, their need is being met by a new segment in the household cleaning industry, all to ready to address the concerns of an enlightened society. And, take their money!


You can go that way. Or, you can join a community of people that is growing in numbers and reach. They’re knowledgeable, frugal and ready to share their info. Here are a few things they suggest for cost-effective, non-toxic cleaning solutions you can make out of things you probably keep in your home:


  • Common supplies—vinegar, baking soda castile soap, peroxide, essential oils, spray bottles, leftover grated cheese dispensers, old tooth brushes & cotton rags/cloth
  • Toilet cleaner — Pour apple cider vinegar into toilet and leave overnight (*For tougher stains, add baking soda)
  • Household cleaner — Mix equal parts water and apple cider vinegar, this is a great natural household cleaner for counters, sinks, floors
  • Garbage disposal cleaner—vinegar, baking soda and diced citrus
  • All purpose citrus cleaner—vinegar, citrus peels and citrus essential oils

Whether your reasons are a healthier lifestyle, reducing your carbon footprint, or just trying to save a buck these suggestions are worth a try. Your planet and your family just might breathe a little easier.

Memorial Day

Sherkica Miller-McIntyre - Thursday, May 21, 2015

Not to anyone’s surprise, Memorial Day has gone the way of too many holidays in the United States.  Instead of celebrations, memorials, and acknowledgement of some significant event or person’s contribution it’s a day off work to rest or SALE, SALE, SALE!  Many don’t even remember or never knew why it’s celebrated.  Well, for those who don’t know or maybe have forgotten while perusing the sales papers planning your shopping strategy, here are few historical facts:


  • More than 750,000 lost their lives in the Civil War.
  • It’s not known in which state the holiday originated.  At last count, more than 2 dozen U.S. citizens were claiming to be the birthplace
  • In May 1966, LBJ officially declared the birthplace to be Waterloo, NY
  • It was borne of a desire to remember the fallen soldiers of the American Civil War
  • It traces back to May 30, 1868, when General John Logan stated that Memorial Day is for, “…strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land.”  It was called, Decoration Day.

Now that we’ve re-familiarized ourselves with the history of the day, let’s share a few fun facts about Memorial Day.


  • The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council notes that starting on Memorial Day, Americans will consume a stomach-busting 818 dawgs per second.
  • 57% of celebrants will barbecue.
  • Top choices for grilling will be burgers (85%), steak (80%), hot dogs (79%) and chicken (73%), with no sign of tofurkey anywhere in the ratings.
  • The National Memorial Day Parade in Washington, D.C. marks the largest of its kind in the U.S., and should easily attract 250,000 live spectators.
  • This year, the average price of gas is $2.66/gallon.  That is a 20% price jump from January, heading into the weekend.  Walk to those sales, people!

There’s nothing wrong with celebrating around a grill and having one of the 71 million hotdogs that will be consumed.  Nothing at all.  We’re just saying there’s a pretty awesome reason behind the holiday, which shouldn’t be forgotten.  So, this Memorial Day, a bit of advice.  We recommend you buy what you need, spend only what you can spare and take at least a moment to remember those that have valiantly, selflessly fought and given the sacrifice of all sacrifices for their country!

Gun Safety at Home

Sherkica Miller-McIntyre - Thursday, May 14, 2015

It seems a week doesn’t pass when there’s some coverage of an accidental shooting, involving children. From toddlers to teens, it seems to be happening more and more. Sure, there is plenty of deliberate shootings that can be argued were senseless and avoidable. When it comes to children and easy access to guns, whatever side of the argument you’re on regarding gun rights, we can all agree that the usual outcome is tragic.

We’ve covered ways to protect your family and your home. Everything from security systems and automatic lights are useful deterrent against would-be invaders. But, what about the safety in your home, against something that many Americans have as one of those deterrents? Depending on who is providing the information and their political agenda, it is estimated that 40-50% of American homes have a firearm. So, that is 40-50% of American homes that should have safety measures in place in their home, to keep those inside safe from that gun. Not only that, extra care should be taken for any visitors to their home also.

Here are some practices that you may or may not know are advisable:


  • First, and foremost, have a discussion about the presence of the gun and the potential danger. Not to instill fear—although a healthy amount of fear never hurts—but for knowledge. *If they stumble across it, knowing it’s not a toy and can hurt them is a valuable, life-saving lesson.
  • Take the ammunition out of the gun.
  • Lock the gun and keep it out of reach of kids. Hiding the gun is not enough.
  • Lock the ammunition and store it apart from the gun.
  • Store the keys for the gun and the ammunition in a different area from where you store household keys. Keep the keys out of reach of children.
  • Lock up gun-cleaning supplies, which are often poisonous.
  • When handling or cleaning a gun, adults should never leave the gun unattended.

It can be hard to balance ease of access when there is a suspected intruder and the safety of little hands finding the trigger. We can no longer just count on them being out of reach. Media coverage and statistics on tragic accidental shootings, misfires, and suicide demonstrates much more is required of gun owners. No judgment, gun ownership is your right. However, if a gun is your personal answer to keep your home and family safe, do your due diligence and do just that. Keep your home and family safe with these gun safety tips!

Carod Properties Property Management

Sherkica Miller-McIntyre - Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Our name is Carod Properties because we are more than a realty company.  We go far beyond helping the Carolinas buy and sell property.  We are also a well-established, and nationally recognized property management firm.  For some companies that means helping find tenants and securing lease agreements.  However, Carod Properties offers full-service Property Management to the extent that your needs require at the top of industry standards.


Many owners desire a more hands-on approach while others, whether new to investment property ownership or lack of time/knowledge, require a firm than can adeptly maneuver the nuances to maximize their investment on their behalf.  In either case, Carod Properties is the just the firm to handle your individual needs.


We offer Investor Services that include tailored options, including:

  • Property Management, Only
  • Tenant Placement & Advertising, Only &
  • A la Cart Services

You can get more information regarding any or all of the above options on our website.  Though things are laid out for your information and comprehension, we would also love to speak you to discuss all that we can do for you! 


With plans to expand our property management portfolio ten-fold in the coming years, we believe the sky’s the limit!  Not just for us, but for you, also.  If you want to add your current list of properties or need help in securing real estate for your own portfolio, we can help!  Grow with us, while experiencing professionalism in the excellence that is synonymous with Carod Properties!

Contact Us

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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