Should I include utilities with rent for my investment properties?

Property Investment Include Utilities

One of the many factors that must be analyzed when considering an investment property is the cost of utilities. Usually with every investment property, there will be some utility costs associated with it. Sometimes these costs may be minimal, as they may be with a single family rental. Other times, they may be significant, such as with a 24-unit apartment building with a central boiler for heat and hot water.

Property Management Cash Flow Greenville

As landlords, we want to maximize our cash flow. Maximizing cash flow often means passing on those utility costs to the tenants who use them by including utility costs with the rent. But should you include utilities with the rent? The answer to that question will depend on many factors. Here are some thoughts on the topic.

Why Include Utilities?

·        Your building is not separately metered. I find this a lot in older buildings, especially those that were single family houses that have been converted into multifamily units. It is simply cost prohibitive to retrofit and meter all of the units separately.

·        You don’t want the double hassle of sending out utility bills and then collecting the utility payments. A utility reimbursement program that divides up utilities on square footage can really be a pain, especially when tenants complain that “they did not use that much heat/water/electricity,” etc.

·        You can potentially make a little more money. I have talked with landlords who include the utilities in the rent and charge a bit more for the service, even if the units are separately metered. This can improve their cash flow.

·        You can’t charge a “per person” fee, as this may be construed as discriminatory against larger families.

Rental Property Include Utilities ?

Why Not Include Utilities?

·        It makes your life easier. If you can require your tenants to get utilities in their own name, you do not have to bill, collect payments or take the phone calls. It just makes your life easier.

·        Your utility expenses will increase. When utilities are included, there is no incentive for the tenant to conserve. I have seen it time and time again where the tenant has the heat turned way up and the window open to cool it off.

·        You might get better quality tenants. It has been our experience that those tenants who can get utilities placed in their names are simply better tenants. They pay their bills and are generally more responsible. Your local market may vary.

·        You spend less time dealing with the local utility. This can be a real time and headache saver.

Looking Beyond the Price of Rent

Property Manager Beyond the Cost of Renting

Just about all of us look for the best deal out there and will often sacrifice certain comforts in order to have cheaper rent or bills every month. While that is perfectly understandable, looking beyond the price of rent is sometimes necessary. Yes, it is wonderful to have such a small bill every month but what does the cheap price of rent mean? As much as we all would like to think someone just has an amazing deal, there is, 99% of the time, a reason why it is so low.

Rental Property Calculator Greenville

Some friends of mine were looking to rent an apartment and were excited to find a couple that were very decently priced for the area. The first one they visited was in a rough part of town and the apartment smelled of smoke and it was quite the rundown little place. Obviously, there was no way the property manager was going to get anybody to spend more than what the place was being rented out for so it actually was not a very good deal, it turned out. The second place they went to, they found out, was owned by a landlord that was well-known in town for being a nasty landlord to deal with. In other words, this landlord had gotten a pretty bad name for themselves and were losing business because of it. Not only can a bad landlord leave you with a dirty renting record but they can make life feel very tough. You never realize how much easier a good landlord makes life feel until you have had a terrible one. It can be very stressful dealing with a terrible landlord which makes paying a bit more in rent, very worth it. Hypothetically, if youre looking at a place to rent that costs $550 a month compared to another place which is $450 a month, start figuring out why there is a $100 difference between the two places. Are the two places in two different parts of town? Is one rougher than the other? Is one more energy efficient than the other? Did one used to have smokers or animals in it prior to you renting? All of these aspects and more can weigh in on the price that the apartment is rented out for. Believe me, no landlord or property manager is going to try and get any less for their property than they know its worth. This is just a good business practice, who can blame them? If I worked hard to be a great landlord and have a clean, safe environment for my tenants to live in, I would rent it at a price its worth. This is my point, if there is a place being rented out for a super cheap price, there has to be a reason why. Now, some people just want a place to live and say that they will not care, whatever the reason is. However, many people, including myself, have come to find out that it is just not worth it. Once you actually get moved in and have to start facing those sacrifices, sometimes on a daily basis, it starts to become overwhelming. Do not make that mistake. If you cannot find an apartment or home to rent that is within your price range, hold off. The patience is well worth the wait. I cannot tell you how many people I have spoken with who jumped the gun in moving without taking the time to research and make sure they were going to be comfortable with where they were going to be living.


Examine Rental Properties

Your home is your sanctuary, it is where you relax to get away from everyone at the end of the day. If you have a home that only brings you stress and more work, can you really call it a home? You cannot compare prices of apartments if they are located in different states. Some states have higher costs of living than others. I had some friends who lived in Greenvile SC and decided to move to New York. The cost of living in New York compared to South Carolina is about aprox 40% higher. This means the home they are paying $550 to rent every month in Greenville would be about $950 in New York. This is not a legitimate comparison. South Carolina is more rural than New York and is much smaller, this is why their cost of living is so much more. When finding a place to rent, be aware of average costs of living in the area that you are searching in. This will give you a great starting point plus, it will help you understand if someone is trying to pull one over on you. Many do not know that you can discuss the price with the person in charge of rent. If you have a good reason as to why it should be lowered, some landlords or property managers will actually negotiate with you. Do not be afraid to negotiate. Just because it is a different type of deal than buying a car, this does not mean it is not open for changes. If you are moving out of state, there are some property managers who may play off the fact that you are naïve to the basic pricing in the area. Show them that you know your stuff and do your research well before proceeding. If you know your stuff before contacting places to rent, you will have a much easier time and will know the questions to ask the first time around, making for a smooth renting process.

Home Rentals Greenville SC

I will repeat, cheaper is not always better. Do not be afraid to pay a little more for rent and look beyond the renting price to the reasons why the price is the way it is. Further, be confident when renting and do not let the prices fool you. Rent prices are not always set in stone and some landlords, if they think they can, may try and squeeze a bit more out of you. Not all will do this, but as long as you are aware and knowledgeable, you should have nothing to worry about.



Can My Landlord Keep My Security Deposit?

Pay Rent On Time in Greenville

It is unfortunate but there are some cases in which a landlord will wrongly keep a security deposit. However there are also many cases which the landlord may keep all or part of your security deposit. It is vital that you know and understand your lease so that you may avoid misunderstandings.


The most common terms that involve a landlord being able to keep your deposit is overdue rent. If at the time of your moving you have rent that is still due, the landlord has the right to keep the deposit to recover the rent owed to them. However, they may only keep the portion to cover the rent. If the deposit is more than what is owed, the remainder amount must be returned to renter.


Damage Rental Property Window

Another circumstance when your landlord may keep all or part of your deposit is if there are damages to the property that are not considered normal wear and tear. For example, if one of the occupants of the home gets mad and punches a hole in the wall, the landlord has every right to keep enough of your deposit to cover fixing the hole. A way to avoid this is to go around the house and make small repairs before they view the house upon you leaving. The better way to avoid this is to be meticulous about taking care of the property you are renting. Many landlords will be surprised if you do so because too many tenants will leave a messy home for them to clean up. Plus, this allows you to have a great reference for future renting or buying.


Rental Property Pet Damage no Deposit

A third example is if you own any pets and you have a pet agreement included in your lease. You might of paid a pet deposit that was an extra fee on top of the other deposit that was paid upon moving in. Often these extra pet deposits are for repairing any damage, smell, etc, left by pets which is inevitable. However, if too much damage is done to the house by the pets, the repairs may eat into your security deposit. Often the pet deposit is nonrefundable even if your pets were well behaved. Therefore, do not lose even more money by letting your pets run crazy.


Overall, take care of your rental property and pay your rent on time and you should have no issues with getting your security deposit back. 

Good Video also describing how not to lose your deposit

Why investing in single family residential versus multifamily housing may be more profitable.

Multi Family Rental Manager

I am a huge proponent of multifamily investing and the ability it offers its owners to achieve financial independence. However, there are several characteristics that allow single family residential to stand out above multifamily homes. This article will outline the negative aspects of multifamily investing and make the case that you can achieve financial independence through investing in single-family homes.

Let me list the negatives of multifamily and detail each one:

1.     Smaller pool of buyers

2.     Dealing with tenant turnover

3.     Escalating prices

4.     Higher level of education

5.     More costly to enter

6.     Higher maintenance costs

7.     Less diversification

Smaller pool of buyers

This first characteristic can be viewed as a positive and a negative. Competition in single-family homes can led to an increase in prices and a reduction in profits. But selling a single-family home is much easier and quicker than selling a multifamily home. The pool of buyers is smaller in multifamily, and the barriers to entry may maintain the prices lower. When the market decides to slow down, the ability to attract fewer buyers will affect the prices in a negative way. With single-family homes, there will be owner occupants who will always need a place to live, and you can also turn to investors to sell.

Dealing with tenant turnover

Rental Manager Greenville

Tenant turnover is one of the highest costs for a multifamily operator. Turnover can be minimized with excellent customer service and a superior product, but there will always be a level of turnover in apartment investing. Single-family homes do experience less turnover and usually cater to a better quality of tenant. I understand this is a generalization and oversimplification, but most people would rather enjoy the privacy and comfort of a home over living in an apartment. Living in an apartment setting can create tension among residents.

We experience a smaller turnover in our apartments due to the type of tenant we cater to. Our tenants are typically blue-collar workers who work in manufacturing and the retail sector. For the most part, many of them do not look to purchasing a home. But if the job market weakens or if home buying becomes affordable, we will undoubtedly lose more tenants.


Escalating Prices

Investing in Real Estate

This characteristic is prevalent in the entire real estate sector, but multifamily is currently leading the charge. We have seen the national cap rate drop to around 5.7, and money continues to rotate into the sector. What troubles me is the fact that some foreign investors are foregoing yield for capital preservation. I guess they just want to keep their money safe, which does not bode well for us value investors. Although foreign investment has slowed a bit, it continues to drive up prices.

Another troubling sign is the escalating stock market. Investors have turned to multifamily to chase returns, just as they did to single-family homes back in 2008-2011. These investors are also bidding up the prices and making it difficult for smaller operators to uncover deals.

Higher Level of Education

The prevailing thought is that multifamily investing is more complex than single-family homes. There may be some truth to that, but any successful single-family home investor has spent countless hours educating themselves on their craft. I think people can relate to buying a home, and there is a certain level of comfort. Once you mention apartment complex, the limiting beliefs begin to fly.

Multifamily investing warrants an investor to become an expert in the space, and material is far less than in single-family homes. Some of the concepts can be regarded as high level, but anyone has the ability to learn the tools. Nobody was born an expert in multifamily.

More Costly to Enter

The amount of capital needed to invest in multifamily investing varies, but no one can argue that you need more capital than you do to buy a single-family home. The financing is also more expensive, along with capital repairs. Fortunately, once an investor becomes savvy, who is to say that he needs any of his own capital to invest? An investor can employ owner financing, raise private money, or even seek out multiple partners to buy a property. But for new investors who do not have these skills in their toolbox, having to raise money for the down payment is a huge impediment to entering the niche.

Higher Maintenance Costs

Rental Maintenance Costs Greenville

In certain instances, tenants are required to maintain their single-family homes by performing maintenance. In multifamily, the operator is required to cut the grass, clean the breezeways, fix the laundry machines, clean the pool, etc. These operating expenses can add up and are necessary to stave off tenant turnover. The tenants in single family residential usually maintain the yard and pay their own utilities. 


Less Diversification

When you purchase a 30-unit complex, all 30 units are located in one area. We view this as a positive, but there can be negative consequences. What happens if the path of progress decides to take a turn, and your neighborhood becomes less desirable? You are pretty much stuck with a bad situation. On the other hand, if your portfolio was diversified and you only owned a couple of homes in the neighborhood, you have just averted a catastrophe.

Find out more about multifamily units in our local Greenville area that maybe available. 

9 Ways to Increase Rent and Value to Your Rental Property

Increase Value through property Mangement


I am a big fan of buy and hold method. That being said, if you’re going to go down this path, you will want to know how to increase the rent and the return from your rentals. Doing so encompasses all factors of property management. Leasing faster and to higher quality tenants will increase your return. Renting for a higher price and increasing the rent upon renewal will as well. And so will preventing maintenance problems before they come up, as well as increasing tenant retention. We will go over 9 ways to increase rent and value of your rental property.

1. Improve the Appearance of the Front of the Property

It’s often noted that people make up their minds about you in seven seconds. In other words, you don’t have long to make a first impression. Neither does your rental. Simple aesthetic improvements such as window shutters, painting the front door, mowing the lawn, hedging any bushes or trees, replacing the mailbox or address numbers and the like can be hugely important.

2. Quality Advertising

I’ve heard it said occasionally that “all we need to do to rent a house is put a sign in the yard.” I think this is the wrong approach. If all you have is a sign in the yard then you will not get as many available applicants. You may indeed get property rented but you may have been able to get higher rent or been more selective on renter if you had larger pool of applicants.

Put simply, renting a property with only a sign probably means you are under-renting it. At Magnolia we have a larger applicant pool from our online presence for rentals or just prospective tenants stopping in office and completing applications for next available rental.  

3. Make Sure the Unit is Well Lit and Smells Good for Showings

It should go without saying that you should clean a unit before showing it. But also, make sure the lights are on and blinds are open so the unit is well-lit when the prospect comes to look at. Dark rooms look smaller and less welcoming.

Also, put some air fresheners in the unit to make it smell pleasant. As the site Fifth Sense notes, “The sense of smell is closely linked with memory, probably more so than any of our other senses.” In other words, if the property smells good, then when the prospect goes home to debate which unit they want of the many they’ve seen, yours will stick out in their memory.

I even heard of one person who baked cookies before prospects showed up. Now that’s an inviting smell sure to get a signature on the bottom line!

4. Don’t Start Your Price Too Low… Usually

The basic principal with apartment rents is that if you have low occupancy, you can’t raise your rent. But if your occupancy is around 90 to 95 percent, then it’s time to increase the rents.

With houses, though, it’s much harder to know what to rent a place for since there’s only one of it. Yes, you can comp it out on Craigslist, Zillow or RentRange or you can ask the neighbors, but you can’t be perfect.

My recommendation is to approach renting a house from the perspective that you can fix a property priced too high, but it’s hard to fix one priced too low. If you under-rent a property, you’re stuck with it. But if you set the price too high, you’ll know quickly it’s too expensive because you aren’t getting any calls. Then you can quickly adjust the price downward. So start near the top of the range you think it can rent for.

Of course, you don’t want to go crazy with this. Every day a unit sits on the market means rent that is lost forever. And if you have a lot of vacancy or it’s in the middle of the winter and few people are looking for a rental, you should certainly be more aggressive. But in most cases, it’s better to start at the high range than the low.

At Magnolia we will most likely have several properties we have rented in the area of your rental so we can quickly narrow down what property will rent for.

5. Screen, Screen, Screen — and Then Screen Some More

A high rent is useless if you’re settling for bad tenants. Take these two scenarios with the same house. One tenant rents it for $600/month and stays there all year. The other rents for $700, but you have to evict the tenant and lose two months of rent plus the costs above the deposit to turn over the unit and the cost of the eviction. Here’s how it turns out:


With any sort of loan on that property, it would almost certainly have been upside down with Tenant 2.

Remember, it’s better to have a property sit vacant than to rent to a bad tenant. Make sure to check for evictions, their criminal record and credit, and get landlord and employment references. We don’t accept evictions nor do we accept felonies unless they are very old. The tenants should also make more than three times the monthly rent in income.

Finally, I would recommend turning over your employment and landlord references to AAA or another such company. There’s an incentive to hear what you want to hear if you check yourself, and that can bias your evaluation when talking to landlords and employers. Then you push through marginal prospects you probably should have declined. Third party companies couldn’t care less, so you don’t get a blurry image when getting landlord and employment references. Magnolia can also be your resource for tenant screening. In approving a tenant we check for all of these items.

6. Charge More for Month-to-Month Rentals

We do not typically rent month-to-month to begin with, but we will allow tenants to switch over to a month-to-month arrangement once they have completed a year lease. But tenant has to pay premium. We often offer month to month rate, 6 month lease, and 12 month lease after first year is complete. The shorter the lease period the higher the rent can be.

7. Allow for Pets and Charge Pet Rent

Remember fewer prospects means less demand, and when the supply stays the same, the only consequence is a lower price.

While I wouldn’t recommend renting to people with dogs in apartments (maybe I’d allow one cat), with houses, I absolutely recommend it. Opening up your property to people with pets increases the number of prospects — and therefore demand and therefore price.

The reason is that many people want to rent houses in large part because they have pets. And Americans love, love, love their pets. It’s the one thing (other than that murder is bad) that Republicans and Democrats seem to be able to agree upon these days. One survey found that 62 percent of Americans have a pet, and of those who do, 95 percent considered their pets to be “members of the family.”

Pets do some damage, though. Luckily, you can cover for that with a nonrefundable pet deposit (we charge $250) and pet rent (we have charged $25 a pet per month). We usually set a limit of three pets and do not allow dangerous breeds of dogs.

We probably make more from pet rent than we lose in damages, but even if these charges are completely offset by more maintenance, you have dramatically increased the pool of potential renters, and with more demand comes a higher price.


8. Maintenance and Preventative Maintenance

Some of the best ways to increase returns is to lower expenses. Preventive maintenance can do just that. You should not rely on tenants to replace furnace filters, clean off A/C compressors, or clean the gutters. But these small repairs can save you thousands of dollars in HVAC and foundation repairs.

Furthermore, some tenants won’t tell you about leaks for some unknown reason. If leaks festers for too long, they can cause major dry rot and water damage.

Regular inspections can find and address these issues. It’s preferable to do them semi-annually, but even once a year is better than nothing.

Furthermore, good maintenance is the key to tenant retention. After tenant signs a lease, their only contact with you is paying rent and maintenance. Neither is pleasant. And if they’re late a month, there’s another unpleasant contact with property management.

But if you provide good maintenance, this will go a long way in keeping you in good favor with your tenants and increasing the odds of renewal. And turnover is often a landlord’s biggest expense, so anything you can do to mitigate it is a good thing for the bottom line.

9. Maintain Contact with Tenants in Other Ways

If you can find a way to positively maintain contact with your tenants, this will also help with renewals. It could be something as simple as a monthly newsletter or a social media presence.



You should approach the management side of your buy and hold business as not just “what you have to do to own properties,” but instead as a profit making business in and of itself. The more you can raise rents, lower costs, and increase retention, the better your bottom line will be. Good management can save bad investments, and bad management can kill good ones. Be proactive in increasing your rental returns. Of course all of these items take time and that is why hiring a good property management company can easily pay for itself over time.  More info on property management.

 Bigger Pockets


Property Owners, Whats the Importance of Routine Maintenance ?

Roof Repair Property Management Easley SC

It can be easy to forget the needs of a house we do not live in. If you own multiple properties or even only one property outside of your own house, it can be difficult to keep up on little maintenance needs because they do not seem necessary at the time. However, those little needs begin to add up or get worse as time goes along and in the end, they could cause big issues.

Routine maintenance can include keeping a house mold free which also involves making sure no excess moisture gets into the house and if it does, having it properly cleaned. Further, taking care of any leaks will help alleviate this issue from occurring. If an eye is not kept on any mold trying to form in the house, before you know it, the entire house is full of it. Mold can be dangerous depending on the type. If black mold gets in your house, renting it would be just about impossible and it is very difficult to remove from a home.

Grass Cutting Property Management Greenville

Outside of making sure moisture does not bring mold into the home, keeping the lawn cut is equally as important. Tall grass brings animals and they can mean damage to the home. Further, if you are trying to bring interest to a home, having tall grass is not very becoming. Weeds and tall grass can also bring issues such as ticks and chiggers. If you are trying to rent or sale a house with tall grass it is very difficult. 


Spraying for pests is a must if nobody is living in the home. Roaches, termites, or rodents can very easily take over a vacant home and spraying once in a while is worth your home staying in one clean piece. It is unimaginable what unchecked pests can do to a property in a short amount of time. Pests not only can cause damage to a property but they will make it harder on you to rent out the property.

Greenville Rental Management Pest Control
Cleaning your Rental Property

Of course, light cleaning is some of the best maintenance that can be done on a vacant home. Dust can build up fast and the property can easily begin to smell musty. Doing some light dusting, vacuuming, randomly running the water, or diffusing essential oils are great ways to keep your property looking in tip top shape. Plus, it can assist with all the previously mentioned issues.

Routine maintenance is really not difficult especially if you keep up on it. If you let it get away from you, it can take longer and cost more to deal with. Stay on top of things with your property and overall, in many aspects, you will be glad you did.





Tenants should you be Renting Without a Lease ?

Some of us are familiar with that situation where Betty Lou has a cousin whose sister has a place for rent and would be willing to mark down the rental price for family. There is no lease needed for family so you move in feeling pretty good that you are not tide down with a place and when something better comes along, you are good to move along. However; once settled, things do not go so smoothly and before you know it, you are wishing you never would have moved in.

Rental Management Agreement Greenville SC

A lease not only protects you as a tenant but it also protects the owners. It protects everyone involved and keeps everyone honest. I have known owners who were in some pretty horrible pickles because they had no lease to back them up. I have seen tenants in the same position. For example, I have some friends who got married and needed to find a place to live in Greenville because that is where they lived. Now, they lived a little ways from Greenville SC so, although finding a place to rent was still expensive and tough, at least it was not as bad as NYC would have been. They felt hopeful and jumped in to finding the perfect place. One of the husband’s childhood friends had a father who owned a single story 2 bedroom home in Anderson but still close to the the interstate and Greenville. It was $500 a month, all inclusive. There was no lease so they could buy a house whenever the time came without being tide down, not to mention, there were no random bills, only the one per month. Two weeks after moving in, their water stopped working. They let the owner know who informed them that the well was running dry and he would not be digging a new one so they would just have to ration the water until then. Another week down the road, it began getting extremely cold for SC. The landlord had not hooked up heat to the house and only had one space heater.. The tenants contacted him only to get met with, “I can bring another space heater.” The space heaters were nowhere near enough heat and the winter was colder than usual. Outside of that, the internet and cable that were promised were also never hooked up to the house. The landlord would not drop the rent price therefore, they had to live with no heat, no water, and none of the promised amenities. Without a lease, there was nothing the tenants could do to remedy the situation. So, only after two months of living there, they were having to search for a new home all over again.

You can see how easy it can be for a landlord or property manager to have no accountability if there is no lease involved. Even if they are friends or family, a lease just keeps everyone honest and gives you as a tenant, the backup you need to make sure you are being treated fairly for your money. 

Property Management and Evictions

Property Management Evicted

Eviction is one of those subjects that owners and tenants dread and feel unsure about. When it comes down to it, if both the property manager or owner and the tenant adhere to the lease, then no worries for anyone.  However, sometimes evictions become necessary. Miscommunication arise or people do not keep their word even if a signed contract is in place. This unfortunately, leaves all parties involved in an uncomfortable position. Eviction becomes necessary when the lease is not upheld by the tenant, and most often when the rent is not paid.  Leases are in place to protect both the tenants and the property owners.  If the lease is breached, then the Eviction process is in place to rectify the issues.  It allows the tenants time to correct whatever the problem is, whether it be past due rents or needed repairs, and in the event the issues are not resolved in that time frame, it gives the tenant a certain amount of time to remove themselves and their items from the property.

Property Manager Greenville Eviction Notice

Most states require a legitimate reason for eviction filing. These reasons might include, illegal activity, not paying rent, damage to the property, etc. The usual form filed is called an Application for Ejectment, but there are other ways to file.  One way is an unconditional quit notice. This means that the owner is evicting the tenant without giving them a chance to fix the issue. Many notices allow you to remedy the situation in order for you to avoid eviction. However, if the tenant has repeatedly broken the lease or was involved with something such as drugs, then the owner has grounds to serve an unconditional quit notice. Which means the lease is being terminated and the tenant must remove themselves from the property immediately. If they do not, the landlord can open an eviction lawsuit.

Other types of notices involve, pay rent or quit notices and cure or quit notices. Pay rent or quit notices mean either pay the rent that is due or “quit” which means to move out and quit on the lease agreement. Cure or quit notices are when a tenant has violated the lease agreement and they are given a certain amount of time to remedy the violation (such as getting rid of an animal that didn’t meet lease guidelines) or they can quit (move). If a tenant does not choose either option with both of the notices previously listed, they can face an eviction lawsuit.  

Renter Eviction Notice

In most states, a landlord does not need to give notice to the tenant prior to filing the eviction.  Most leases have a paragraph describing the eviction rules of a particular Landlord or Property Manager. Landlords must have cause to file. However, a tenant does have rights, and the tenant can request a court hearing and have their case heard in front of a Summary Court Judge.  If a hearing is requested, their case will be heard and things can be sorted out. The judge can then make the decision as to who is at fault and what the remedy is.

Renter Referral Greenville SC Property Management

There are consequences to having an eviction filed against you the tenant.   Eviction notices can leave your renting record tarnished. If you ever wanted to buy property of your own, lenders often ask for a reference from previous landlords. So, if you are a tenant, read, understand and abide by your lease. If you are unsure of what your lease says about something, call the property manager to clarify.

If you are a landlord, have a clear and concise lease that does not leave room for a lot of questions. If you are fair and open with the tenant at the beginning of the lease, then most likely your tenants will respect you and there will be no problems during their tenancy.

Overall, eviction is a last resort action for most Landlords and Property Managers. Unfortunately, being a successful Property Manager does sometimes require these legal actions.  It is always good to know the options if problems arise. 

Eviction Notice On Door Greenville SC

5 Renter Tips for Understanding a Pet Policy

Renters and Pets

Pets can be such a joy in our lives. However, they can also mean a lot of responsibility. When moving, having a pet can make it difficult to find a home.  If you find a property that allows pets, they most likely will have limitations in place.  If you are a pet owner and you have a found a place that allows pets, below are a few questions to ask before moving in.

1.      If my pet causes any damage at all to the house, will that affect me getting my security deposit back? This is important because most places will require a one-time or monthly pet deposit that is non-refundable.  This money covers damages that possibly can occur from a pet living in the house.   If damages are done by the pet, it could affect your security deposit.

2.      Do you have a pet fee and is it refundable? Most places do not refund the pet fee.

Pet Policy Property Management

3.      Do you have any weight limitations? Many places have a 20-pound weight limit to ensure there are no larger breeds that are brought into the home.  The thinking is the bigger the animal the more damage they cause.  Yes, many of us love big dogs but when it comes to rentals bigger dogs are not usually acceptable.

4.      Do you have any breeds you do not allow? I have not seen a lot of places do this but it is becoming more common.  Breeds like pit bulls are popular, as well as Rottweilers. However many owners do not want their properties associated with dangerous breeds. Although many do not see their dogs as dangerous, as you might not, they still have to exercise caution because they are the owner of the property and could be held liable even if it is your pet and not theirs that hurts someone or causes damages.

Tenant Pet Policy Property Manager Greenville SC

5.      How many pets do you allow? Some places put a cap on how many pets you can have in the house even if you are within their weight and breed limitations. So, make sure you are not surpassing the amount the owner is comfortable with because breach of contract is grounds for eviction.


Before you Rent , Ask a few Questions of your Property Manager

Before you Rent , Ask a few Questions of your Property Manager

When finding a place to rent, you might experience fear and excitement. You don’t want to live in an undesirable neighborhood and you definitely need to understand the lease you will be signing and all its requirements. Outside of being curious about the price and basics, there are a few important questions you should ask a property manager before you sign a lease.


1.     Are utilities included? If so, which ones?

Sometimes certain utilities are covered by the owners or Home Owners Associations with a rental property. Make sure you understand, and that your lease indicates, exactly who will be responsible for the utilities.

2.     What happens if I have a maintenance issue?

This is an important subject to understand when signing a lease.  Property Management companies most often have their own maintenance people who takes care of all their properties. Make sure you know who you need to call if you run into a maintenance issue.


3.     How much will I be paying in upfront costs if I sign the lease?

Have the Property Management Company detail the costs upfront before signing.  Usually it is a security deposit and one month of rent up front.  When pets are allowed there is also usually an additional pet deposit. 

4.     Do you allow pets? If so, do you have a fee and guidelines?

A lot of us can’t live without our beloved pet(s). However, if this is important to you, make sure you know the pet policy before signing the lease because you don’t want Rufus left out in the cold. On another note, maybe you don’t want to live in a house that had pets prior to you living there. Either way, make sure you understand the pet policy.

5.     Is my rent prorated?

If your move-in date is other than the first of the month, ask if that month will be pro-rated to insure you are not charged for the days you’re not in the property.

6.     What is the parking situation?

Sometimes there is no designated parking for rental properties.  Some rental situations require paid parking or parking in a parking garage. Make sure you’re comfortable with the parking requirements.

7.     Under what circumstances are you able to break the lease?

You can ask this for both you and the property manager. When can they decide the lease is terminated early and if something comes up, are you able to terminate the lease early and if so, are there costs involved?

8.     Can I sublet?

Life is unpredictable and you never know what could randomly pop up. These changes could involve you needing to remove yourself from the lease. However, if that isn’t an option, find out if subletting is an option.

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Top 9 Questions to Ask When choosing a Property Management Company

Top 9 Questions to Ask When choosing a Property Management Company


When looking to hire a property manager, it can be a difficult choice. The decisions they make could result in you making money on your property versus losing money. If you are unsure what questions to ask when dealing with property managers, you have come to the right place. We have listed some top questions suggested when considering to hire a property manager.

1.     How long have you been a property manager?

You don’t want to get stuck with someone who has no idea what they are doing. Make sure they have a proven track record of property management.

2.     How many units are you currently managing?

If they have too much on their plate, they will not be able to effectively take care of your needs. Magnolia Rental Property Management believes you should choose a company that handles at least 100 units. Not only does this mean they have their name out there but it also means that they should be great at handling multiple properties.

3.     How many vacancies do you have right now?

Find out how many units they have and compare their vacancies with the local market. If their vacancy rate is higher, this could be a sign that they are not very good at getting properties filled.

4.     What are your management fees?

This is, of course, a big one. Many property management companies just take a percentage of the rent. However, you want to make sure their rates are competitive.

5.     Do you charge a fee when my unit is vacant?

Ideally, you don't want to be paying for services on a house when you’re not getting rent money in return.

6.     What is your pet policy?

We all know that pets are a questionable subject because they can damage properties. You want to make sure that your investment is protected and its care is within your comfort zone.

7.     What are the income qualifications?

Evictions can be unpredictable and unpleasant as well as take up a lot of time. It’s nice to get a tenant that has a stable income without having to worry from month to month if they are going to pay.

8.     Does Your Lease Agreement Protect My Property?

Most places will use the local property lease that has been reviewed by lawyers to ensure it is covering the laws in the area. Make sure the lease requires a security deposit to cover any potential tenant damages, and it requires tenants to do certain routine maintenance items.

9.     What do your services cover?

This is perhaps one of the most important questions because you want to make sure that your money is going to good use and that all your needs are covered.  Make sure you have a good understanding about the services provided by the Property Manager you choose.  Then sit back and let them do what they are good at, which is making your investment property bring in a good income for you, the owner!