brett furniss: Charlotte Property Management Weekly: Why Your First 2 Weeks of Dating are Exactly Like the First 2 Weeks Your Rental is Listed - 01/15/11 07:33 AM
 

Early impressions can be very telling.  In relationships, they can save you a lot of time and heartache. 
 
For example, when you first start dating someone, the first 2 weeks really are pivotal.  One really wrong move and it is over, right?  So, it is important to pay attention and try to figure out how to stand out (in a good way...).  It's also important to figure out what they really think of you, as they usually won't tell you outright.  Do they think your nervous tic is endearing or pathetic?  When you bring up your issues, are … (3 comments)

brett furniss: Charlotte Property Management Weekly: #1 Way to Fill Rental Homes Quickly - 01/08/11 05:35 AM
 

 
As homes for sale sit and rentals continue to gain prominence in the residential real estate market across the country, concerned owners are wondering how to best fill their rental properties quickly.  So are property managers.
 
"Everyday my house is empty costs me money!  Besides the mortgage payment, it's the other things that are absolutely killing me- utilities with this unusually cold and snowy winter, HOA dues rising, you name it.  I need someone renting (or buying) my home!" is a common lament from homeowners with a vacant home on the market.
 
As a real estate … (1 comments)

brett furniss: Charlotte Property Management Weekly: 2011 Should Be a Fun Year to Work in Real Estate! Really. - 01/02/11 05:12 AM
 

 
"What??  Are you crazy?  Is moonshine still a big draw in Charlotte?" you may say. 
 
Sure, I've read the news and understand the dire straits the housing market is in.  And, no, there is no gold rush (that I'm aware of...) coming to Charlotte; we're getting hammered like everyone else.  My reaction is just based on the sheer need of buyers and sellers to transact real estate and what that means to real estate professionals.
 
Pat Riley, the legendary professional basketball coach, used to tell a story to his players before big games.  He would talk … (1 comments)

brett furniss: Charlotte Property Management Weekly: Groupons & Free Property Management - 12/29/10 08:38 AM
 
 

 
I'm a big (recent) fan of these "Groupons."  What a great deal for consumers!  Groupons are like regular coupons, except on steroids; they offer discounts of 50%+ to use at local businesses.  I am impressed and now a big supporter.
 
Early last week there was a groupon for one of the top restaurants in Charlotte offering $60 worth of food for $25.  What a great deal!  I bought one and used it the next night.  It was as advertised; we ordered the food, got the check, and gave them the groupon coupon (I'm a poet and … (1 comments)

brett furniss: Charlotte Property Management Weekly: Mr. Smith’s Appointment Implies Real Estate’s Future is in Rent-To-Own & Rent-To-Sell - 12/17/10 05:16 AM
 

 
"Since they collapsed into conservatorship in September 2008, Fannie and Freddie have received $151 billion in taxpayer assistance.  More will certainly be needed." 
 
"If this Mr. Smith goes to Washington as head of FHFA (Federal Housing Finance Agency), he will face a monumental challenge at a crucial time: how to protect taxpayers from even greater losses incurred by Fannie and Freddie."
(Gretchen Morgenson in this week's NY Times)
 
So, it looks like NC's own Joseph Smith, Jr. will be tapped to run the FHFA.  Big deal! Somebody's got to do it, right?  And when you're looking … (0 comments)

brett furniss: Charlotte Property Management Weekly: Do You Want Rent-To-Own With That Rental Home? CAN YOU AFFORD TO MISS OUT? - 12/11/10 07:07 AM
 
 

 
Oh, the joy of the successful up-sell!  Ask a simple question many times to many customers and make a ton more money!  This is what all corporations pine for:
 
McDonalds: "Do you want fries with that?"  Amazon: "7 more dollars and get FREE shipping!" Dominos: "Order 2 pizzas at regular price and get free cheesy bread!"  
Mix in a little doubt from a good salesperson and if gets even better!
 
Meineke: "Sure, you could wait to replace your brake pads for another few months, BUT IS YOUR FAMILY'S WELL-BEING WORTH TAKING THAT CHANCE?" Bank … (0 comments)

brett furniss: Charlotte Property Management Weekly: Charlotte Headlines Say Real Estate Market is on Rebound? Or Not? - 12/01/10 10:36 AM
 

"There are no facts, just interpretations."  Friedrich Nietzsche
 
On a whole, I like honesty.  I like it when people tell me what they really think (within reason).  And if they don't have anything interesting or worthwhile to say, omission works well for me too.  I like things clear and easily understood.
 
So it came to my chagrin when I was reading a headline of an article this week that blared, "N.C. foreclosure sales drop 42%."  Wow!!  42%?  That's almost half!  Is the job market trending up in our southern paradise?  2011 must be when the US economy … (2 comments)

brett furniss: Charlotte Property Management Weekly: Pricing Rental Homes- List Above, At, or Below Market Value? - 11/23/10 11:27 AM
  

I have to admit, pricing rental homes is an issue that I struggle with.  As a property manager in Charlotte for the past 6 years, I really should have a good grip on the right approach; however, I'm still constantly debating myself over the correct way to do it.  And my therapist says this self-banter does not mean that I'm crazy.   
 
So... it is safe to say that pricing is an inexact science.  It is simply impossible to know what the optimal dollar figure is for any product or service.  For example, let's say you are a manager … (4 comments)

brett furniss: Charlotte Property Management Weekly: The Options Available to Owners of Vacant Homes - 11/15/10 05:36 AM
 

As a Charlotte property manager specializing in lease options (rent-to-own and rent-to-sell), we get many calls from home sellers "exploring their options" about their vacant properties (unlike Obama, my puns are typically not intended).  So, as a public service, I'll run through the available options:
 
Strategic default (I think this is what it is being called): Stop paying the mortgage and taking the credit score beating like a man   Put the property on the market for sale: If the home is special and priced well, it will sell in some period of time.  If not, eat the mortgage … (0 comments)

brett furniss: Charlotte Property Management Weekly: Your Rental Home Wants You to Wait Until It’s Ready - 10/30/10 01:17 PM
 

Every client we've ever had has wanted as little vacancy time for their rental as possible.  Zero days are optimal; every day after zero winds up costing them money in utilities, mortgage payments, and maintenance.  Not wanting to lose any money leads to a mentality of getting the home on the market as soon as possible, regardless of condition and resident situation.
 
So some clients want us to put their homes on the market prior to them being ready for occupancy.  What I mean by this is that the home has not been completely repaired and there are … (3 comments)

brett furniss: Charlotte Property Management Weekly: 3 Approaches to Fixing Up a Rental Home - 10/23/10 09:06 AM
 

We sometimes take over management of homes that have been treated in, diplomatically-speaking, less than desired regard.  It's frustrating for the owners (and the property management company), especially in difficult economic times when cash is scarce.    
 
The purpose of this article is not to talk about the root cause of this destruction (usually poor tenant screening), but rather the options available when faced with a rental home in bad shape.
 
It comes down to 3 potential approaches:
 
Total Fix-Up: This is when everything is fixed so the home is in tip-top shape.  New carpet, new … (3 comments)

brett furniss: Charlotte Property Management Weekly: $200 Rental Application Fees- Genius? - 10/14/10 08:33 AM
 

 
I don't find myself being amazed at things very often, but I have to admit I was taken aback when I saw a large property management firm change their application fee from $25 to $200.
 
My initial thoughts were, "who is willing to pay that?" and "how can I justify charging that much for a rental application fee?"
 
I don't know why they changed their rental application fee, but I have a guess- they got way too many applications from candidates who would never qualify to rent!  Their people were inundated!  So they used common sense.
(2 comments)

brett furniss: Charlotte Property Management Weekly: Delayed Rental Walk-Throughs Cost Everyone Money - 10/08/10 10:17 AM
 

Unfortunately, I'm yawning as I'm writing the title of this article.  I'm not sure how to jazz it up a little (maybe "Lindsey Lohan falls for property manager during rental walk-through!  Then she heads back to rehab."  I'm intrigued at least.
 
That would be a nice segment into this!  Instead, coming in a close second in terms of excitement, I'll give the definition of the walk-through so we're all on the same page: A walk-through is simply visiting a rental property after a tenant moves out and assessing the damages.  Then, one would deduct the damages from the … (0 comments)

brett furniss: Charlotte Property Management Weekly: Another Ploy in Rental Home Fraud - 10/02/10 11:18 AM
 

At this point, most people are aware of the rental scam where a prospective tenant answers your ad and:
 
Loves your house and wants to move in soon Asks you if you will accept a year in rent upfront (duh- yeah!) by certified check (double yeah!!) Then they send you several thousand dollars more than the one year rent (by accident...) and asks you to send the balance to Texas via Western Union After sending the balance (real money) to their Western Union account, your bank notifies you that their certified check was from a bank that doesn't … (1 comments)

brett furniss: Charlotte Property Management Weekly: Reaction to Proposed FHA Loan Changes for Those in Lease Option Contracts: “No Sweat” - 09/25/10 03:02 AM
 

There has been a lot of discussion surrounding proposed (and current) changes to tighten FHA loan guidelines.  Heated discussions.  Unhappy folks.  Panic. 
 
Real estate agents are unhappy.  Buyers are unhappy.  NAR is not happy.  And if mommy isn't happy, nobody is happy.
 
Why is this?  Well, if more buyers are pushed out of the market for not having the proper qualifications now, the real estate market will continue to worsen.  If that happens, who knows what the effect will be for the economy in general, and especially for those that are employed in the real estate industry.
(0 comments)

brett furniss: Charlotte Property Management Weekly: Are You Practicing Insanity with your Home for Sale? - 09/18/10 07:38 AM
 

The definition of insanity is to do the same things over and over again and expect a different result.  Is this what is happening with all the vacant homes still being listed for sale (that shouldn't be)?
 
I'm not talking about occupied houses where the occupants would like to move, but don't have to.  I think they should have their houses on the market; they could get lucky.  As the Lotto says, "You've got to be in it to win it!"
 
I'm talking about vacant homes that are sucking dollars out of the owners' pockets month after … (2 comments)

brett furniss: Charlotte Property Management Weekly: What’s the Difference Between “Rent-To-Own” and “Rent-To-Sell”? - 09/13/10 06:37 AM
 

Another popular question I hear from prospective clients is:
 
PC:  "What's the difference between rent-to-own and rent-to-sell?"
 
Us:  "There is none!" 
 
PC:  "Well, if that's the case, why don't you eliminate the whole "rent-to-sell" terminology?  I've heard of rent-to-own, but this rent-to-sell thing is new to me."
 
Well, it's a matter of perspective.  A rental tenant who aspires to be a buyer would use rent-to-own as the correct terminology.  Example:
 
"I want to rent-to-own this house.  This means I'm going to rent the house, work on my credit until I can buy it, and … (3 comments)

brett furniss: Charlotte Property Management Weekly: Lessons from the Banking Crisis for Properly Structuring Incentives for Rent-To-Sell - 09/06/10 04:17 AM
 

Potential clients of ours ask, "Why do you charge a "Realtor Fee" of 5% or 6% when a rent-to-own tenant buys our home (rent-to-sell)?  Some of your competitors provide the tenant, keep the upfront option fee, and then let us manage the property.  We then only pay the attorney fees when the tenant buys."
 
We answer, "So you don't experience something akin to the banking crisis." 
 
"What does that mean???" 
 
Let me explain.
 
I've been reading a lot of books lately on the banking crisis over the past few years.  There were two things that … (1 comments)

brett furniss: Charlotte Property Management Weekly: Maybe You Shouldn’t Fix Up your Rental Home? - 08/27/10 02:16 AM
 

The "Golden Rule" was an excellent idea as soon as Jesus said it; our lives would be so much better if we followed it all the time.  But it's not such a smart philosophy to follow it with rental homes.  Let me explain. 
 
There are many well-intentioned investors who believe that the "Golden Rule" should apply to their rental properties.  "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."  Through the years, I've heard:
 
"I like granite countertops.  I imagine that tenants would also like to have them in my $75K townhouse that rents for … (1 comments)

brett furniss: Charlotte Property Management Weekly: “Better to Rent or List Your Home for Sale?” 3 Question Litmus Test - 08/21/10 05:25 AM
 

This seems to be a FAQ these days.  As a property manager in Charlotte, we get many calls from people asking themselves this question. 
 
I didn't think there was a one-size-fits-all answer to this, but I was corrected.  It just seems to come down to who you ask.  If you ask a:
 
1.  Realtor: "You should definitely put your house on the market!  Interest rates are at all-time lows!"
2.  Property Managers: "Nothing is selling in this market.  You can either eat your mortgage every month as it sits or have a respectful renter pay it for … (2 comments)

 
Brett Furniss, Charlotte Property Manager (BDF Realty, Inc.)

Brett Furniss

Charlotte Property Manager

Charlotte, NC

More about me…

BDF Realty, Inc.

Address: PO Box 35437, Charlotte, NC, 28235

Office: (704) 370-6419

Mobile: (704) 902-7522

"Charlotte Property Management Monthly" discusses the latest in property management, especially concerning rent-to-own (aka lease options and lease purchase) and rent-to-sell. The purpose is to educate Realtors and consumers alike on more innovative home buying, renting, and selling techniques. This also includes some small business insight as well.


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