Pitfalls to Avoid when Self-Managing Your Charleston Investment Property - article banner

It’s easy to make mistakes when you’re self-managing your Charleston rental property. Most independent landlords don’t have access to the resources, experience, or local market data that professional property managers have.

Your income property is more than a monthly rent check. It’s an investment and an asset. It deserves to be treated like a business, because that’s what it is. Do what any smart business owner would do, and partner with experienced professionals in order to earn more and spend less on your investment property.

Some of the most common pitfalls in self-management are expensive – they will end up costing you far more than a monthly management fee.

These are the common issues we see when self-managers come to us for help with their rental property.

Leasing Difficulties for Self Managers

Your property’s rental value depends on the market and the competition. Self-managers often have a hard time setting the right rental price or they price the home too high, based on what they want or need to earn. Your property manager will have access to reliable data that tells you what similar homes in your neighborhood are renting for. The right rental price minimizes vacancy loss and ensures that well-qualified tenants apply for your home.

When it comes to marketing, you might feel like your only option is a Craigslist ad. Charleston property managers have access to syndicated networks and property management technology that will ensure your listing is in front of a large pool of prospective tenants. You get a better tenant and a faster leasing process.

Surprise Expenses with Charleston Rental Homes

A lot of self-managers think about the mortgage payment they have to make on their investment every month, but they rarely think about the additional expenses required to keep a rental property occupied and maintained. If you don’t have a reserve account for things like emergency maintenance, preventative services like pest control, and the money you’ll need for turnovers and cleaning, you could find yourself spending more than you expected.

You also might be missing out on additional revenue opportunities. For example, if you refuse to rent your property to tenants with pets, you are losing money on pet fees and pet rent. Property managers know how to create additional income streams for rental owners.

Legal Issues and Tenant Relations

Risk and liability are major pitfalls if you’re self-managing a rental property in Charleston. If you don’t have consistent policies in place for marketing, tenant screening, rent collection, lease enforcement, and security deposits, you may find yourself facing a tenant dispute or even a lawsuit.

Fair housing laws must be complied with, and it’s very easy to make a legal mistake when it comes to fair housing. Even if you’re not intentionally discriminating, the way you word your advertising or the standards you use to screen tenants can be seen as discriminatory. A Charleston property manager will have the education and experience required to select tenants objectively and in compliance with all local, state, and federal laws.

Your tenant relationship can also be difficult to navigate. We see some self-managing landlords who practically ignore their tenants, which leads to a lot of tenant turnover and high vacancy costs. We also see self-managing landlords who become too friendly with tenants. This makes it easy for them to take advantage to you. It’s hard to be consistent with late fees and notices when rent is late if your tenant thinks you’re a friend.

Your rental property is a business and should be treated as such. A property manager can provide the necessary buffer between you and your tenants, limiting your liability and ensuring the tenants are held accountable.

We have the time, technology, resources, and expertise to manage your Charleston rental property effectively and profitably. If you’d like to hear more about why self-management isn’t the money-saver you think it is, contact us at Meridian Residential Group.

Tenant relationshipMeridian Residential Group in North Charleston provides both single-family and multi-family property management in the Charleston, SC area, including in North Charleston, Summerville, Goose Creek, and Moncks Corner, among other cities.