Why Consider a Property Management Company for Your Lowcountry Rental

Do you have a rental property in Bluffton or Hilton Head and wish to reduce the amount of time spent managing the property? Are you looking at buying a rental in the Lowcountry and are wondering if you should self-manage or use a property management company? In this article I will cover the benefits of using a property management company for your Bluffton/ Hilton Head rental!

1. The Importance of Local Knowledge and Expertise

If you are looking to buy a rental property do you feel comfortable estimating rents and expenses? Miscalculating either of these can blow up your deal. Looking at websites like zillow and rentometer for rent estimates can be good places to start, but these websites do not take into account the different communities in Bluffton/ Hilton Head. Due to the differing amenities of communities and build materials of homes, a 3 bed 2 bath home in one community may rent for a very different amount than a 3 bed 2 bath home in another community only a couple 100 yards away. 

Are you looking for long-term or mid-term renters because you are down here for part of the year? A good property manager can advise you on which developments to look at for your investment needs. In addition, due to all the different HOA rules, a local property manager can keep you aware of the rules of the communities so you can decide on if certain communities will be more of a hassle than others.

It’s no surprise that prices differ all across the US. The cost to put a roof on a house in California is different than the price to put a roof on a house in South Carolina. A good property manager will be able to tell you how much certain repairs will cost so that you can ensure the expenses of your prospective rental fit within the budget.

2. Efficient Marketing and Showing of Your Rental Property

When marketing a rental, one of the first things you’ll want to do is take good pictures to show off your home in the best light. A property manager can help stage your home and take flattering photos of its spaces. In addition, they can post the listing on multiple rental websites, social media, and send the listing to prospective tenants who are on the tenant waitlist. This can expand the pool of applicants so that you have a number of qualified prospects to choose from.

In addition to doing the marketing for you, a property manager can also do home showings so you don’t have to spend your evenings and weekends doing them. Due to the large network of prospects a property manager will market to, it can almost be assured that people will show up to home showings. Contrast this with a landlord who may not have a network and marketing system, where no one may show up to their open houses, wasting time and money.

3. Ensuring Quality Renters with professional tenant screening

A thorough background check is key to having a successful rental property investment. There are a range of factors that must be looked at to make sure no unqualified tenants slip through the cracks and wind up in your home. Property managers use software that search for credit reports, prior evictions, criminal history, and more. A good property manager will also take the time to call up employers and prior landlords to determine the character of the applicant. How do you know that the contact is legitimate and not just their friend pretending to be the landlord? We do this for a living and have seen all kinds of con artists. A good property manager will be able to sniff them out. Many of the property management companies in the Lowcountry know each other, and we verify prior tenants with each other constantly.

A good property manager can also determine what’s a red flag and what isn’t. For instance, an applicant may have a low credit score, but upon digging deeper, the low score is due to medical  debt, but the applicant pays all of their bills on-time. If you just looked at the credit score you may miss out on a great tenant.

4. Streamlining Vendor Selection for Property Repairs

Selecting a contractor to perform repair work on your property can be time-consuming. You’ll want to make sure they are licensed and have a track-record of being reliable and staying on budget. When working with a property manager you will be able to use their vetted contractors. Due to the sheer volume of maintenance requests a property management company receives, a bad or unreliable contractor will not remain an approved vendor for long.

If you are not comfortable with vetting contractors then a property manager can be a big help. Selecting the wrong contractor for the job can cost a lot of money to fix their work as well as cause a lot of headaches and unhappy tenants. Another perk is that many contractors will provide bulk discounts to property managers, which can be passed on to you.

5. Ensuring a good understanding of Property Management Laws

The rental lease should be an airtight contract that outlines what the rent is, what the rules are, and what the consequences are for not abiding by the lease. In addition, the contract must be legally enforceable to be of any use. A property management company will have leases that hit all of these points… and then some! If an eviction has to occur (which should be rare if the property manager properly vetted the tenant) then the legal process must be followed to the T. Any deviation from this process risks having to start the eviction process all over again; not something you want to have happen if the tenant isn’t paying rent or is damaging the property.

6. Proactive Property Management and routine inspections

Taking phone calls from tenants is part of properly managing your property. Someone needs to be available to react to any issues such as leaks or maintenance requests. Putting these repairs off can lead to property damage and/ or unhappy tenants. Afterall, who wants to live in a place that is falling apart and nothing gets fixed? 

Another important part of property management is walking the exterior and interior of the property to make sure the tenants are taking care of the home and maintenance issues are caught early before they can balloon into a major issue. A property manager should do this and provide you with a report on the condition of the property. It is nice to know about an upcoming expense in advance of when it actually occurs.

7. Save your Time with a Property Management Company

What’s the most important thing a property manager can save you? Time. Real estate is considered a passive investment, but there are times where your investment requires attention; taking you away from your job, or your free time. Background checks, showings, notice postings, walkthroughs, and vetting vendors are all an important part of making sure your real estate investment is profitable and should not be neglected. A property manager can help you scale by allowing you to focus on acquiring properties instead of spending time on managing the houses you have.

Making the Right Choice for Your Rental Property

So should you work with a property manager? Only you can decide. If you enjoy being a landlord or don’t mind the work that goes into it then a property manager isn’t needed, but if you want to have more free-time, the ability to scale efficiently, and the peace of mind that repairs and management are being done properly then a property management company may be just what you need!

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