Podcast

Investment Property Geeks of Charlotte is the podcast that will teach you everything you need to know about the most critical function of buy and hold real estate: management. We're your pros, Chris and Jesse. Join us as we roll up our sleeves and give you practical and powerful strategies and tips to maximize your property’s potential and build enduring wealth.

Whether you are a newbie exploring investment properties, you have a home being professionally managed or you are a seasoned investor managing yourself, this Podcast is for YOU!

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What the Heck is Property Management Anyway?

Chris Claflin - Monday, August 31, 2020


Property management can be done by an investor or by professional property managers. Whether you fall into either category, there are certain arenas you should be familiar with. In the upcoming episodes of the Investment Property Geeks of Charlotte, we’ll give you comprehensive insight and practical tips and takeaways on every key area of property management.

This episode previews upcoming episodes, which will include:

  1. Property Evaluation
  2. Marketing Your Property For Rent
  3. Risk Mitigation
  4. Tenant Screening and Selection
  5. Move In
  6. Rent Collection
  7. Routine Walkthrough
  8. Accounting
  9. Preventative Maintenance
  10. Lease Renewals and Negotiation
  11. Move Out

Here’s how to get involved:

  • Bookmark the site: investmentpropertygeeks.com
  • Email questions: Podcast@investmentpropertygeeks.com
  • Facebook: Sunnon Property Management

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Wishing you a brighter life through real estate. 

Chris Claflin and Jessie Mancuso

Experts from Sunnon Property Management

Whether you do it on your own or hire professionals, understanding the basics is crucial for success.

Want a deep dive? Go here to read all about what a property management company does.

About Sunnon Property Managers

Jessie Mancuso has been in the greater Charlotte area for four years. He is from Scranton, PA. After a long career in the corporate world, he found his true calling in real estate. His background is in economics. He appreciates the reward of genuinely helping people through their journey of buying, selling or renting a home. His function at Sunnon Property Management is as the Business Development Manager.

He would contend that he’s more a “nerd” than a “geek.”

Interests: American history.

Chris Claflin has been in Charlotte from 2017 but is originally from Idaho. He has a wife and three young boys. Had a big corporate background in aerospace: finance, operations, program management, etc. In 2011, he started investing in real estate. His interest began before that, observing property managers as a renter in college. Once he started investing, he dedicated himself to the study of managing his own properties. This grew and evolved into Sunnon Property Management. 

He minored in statistics and wears the “nerd” badge with pride.

Helping Property Managers Succeed

The goal of these podcast episodes is going to be to help property managers succeed. We get questions about this every day. Back in the days of rent boxes, you’d throw your check in and the property manager was the guy who picked up and cashed the checks. But there is (obviously) a lot more to it than that.

These treatments will be applicable whether you hire a property manager or are doing it on your own.

Money is really made or lost on your property in the day-to-day management decisions you make.

We will launch this with an overview of the overarching topics we intend to cover in upcoming episodes. You’ll get a much better idea of the things you should regularly do to get the most value out of your property, protect the value of your property and protect your cash flow.

Here is a sneak peek of upcoming episodes and the topics we will cover in them.

1. Property Evaluation

We’ll start by guiding you through evaluating your own property.

Ask yourself:

  • What’s your vision?
  • What do you intend to do with the property?
  • What’s your long-term plan?

This upcoming episode will also cover:

  • We’ll talk about rent and rental markets. Frequently, these comps are similar to home sales. Where your home is located and the comps will impact your rental price.
  • Improvements: what is needed to improve your property to get it ready to rent?
  • Curb appeal: this applies to selling and buying but also to renting. We’ll talk about how this influences the types of tenants that you’ll attract to your property.

When you meet with a professional property manager, you will get expert coaching to help you determine your individualized strategies. We’ll provide some tried-and-true metrics to help you decide whether to implement upgrades. This discussion will also dip into the unique dynamics within and around Charlotte. If you want to invest in property in Charlotte, this episode will be a must-listen.

2. Marketing Your Property For Rent

There are a lot of tips, tricks and simple ideas to implement better marketing for your property, including:

  • What kind of media or photos should you have?
  • Where you should be marketing?
  • When should you market?
  • How far in advance of occupancy should you market the property?
  • How many prospects should you expect to have on a property before you lease it?

One of our biggest failures in the early days (as DIY investors) was to not be patient enough. We’ll tell you how many prospects we expect to see… the number will probably blow your mind.

We see some frequent mistakes related to the Fair Housing Act in marketing. There are pitfalls you have to avoid. Missteps like that could result in a fine or even a lawsuit.

In this episode, you’ll also get some tactics on how to show a property, with some extra tips around showing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

3. Risk Mitigation

We’ll discuss insurance and coverage. 

  • Have the proper insurance
  • Have all parties covered
  • Require adequate rental insurance

This is another arena in which DIY-ers or newbies don’t understand where to start. None of our landlords required it but we understand what a liability that is for you. There’s a system you can put in place to make sure that you don’t get uninsured or underinsured tenants.

In addition to insurance coverage, property managers should regularly conduct visual inspections. When you hear the term, “lazy landlord,” you can be sure there is damage. Landlords worry about destructive tenants. Most of the horror stories can actually be traced back to a lack of visual inspections.

There are some ways to perform these that aren’t intrusive or dreaded by the tenant. You can structure these in a way that sets an expectation from the start and contributes to a healthy relationship. We’ll give you insight into all of that and the steps to put into place to pull this off without it being a headache or hassle.

4. Tenant Screening and Selection

What red flags should you be looking out for? As a property manager, your objective is to maintain the property on behalf of an owner or landlord. The goal is to find individuals who will protect the value of your home for you. Great tenants could take better care of a home than homeowners.

If you want crummy tenants, have a crummy property.

If you want great tenants, have a great property.

When it comes to tenant screening and selection, the process doesn’t start where you think it does. It doesn’t start with an application. It starts way before that.

Fair housing is going to be very important. Anyone who’s becoming familiar with real estate will learn all about this. Fair housing extends to marketing and compliance. We’ll detail all of the things that you may be overtly or inadvertently doing that are against the law.

There is also the issue of fraud. For example, a problem that is coming up a lot right now are emotional support animals. Some tenants are using emotional support laws to get dangerous animals onto a property. If you come across this, it is very easy to slip up and make huge mistakes.

For example, it is against the law to stipulate on your application that no one with a criminal record can rent your property. It will make sense once we explain it. It’s not all common sense and it’s truly something you need to understand.

Even though we’ve been through excessive training, have lawyers and have processes, when something like this comes in we have to revisit and ensure we’re doing it by the book. We’ll help you understand how to institute the right standards to uphold the letter and spirit of the law.

Tenant screening is essential. There are several steps to take:

  • Confirming identities
  • Background checks
  • Rental references
  • Criminal record checks
  • Credit checks
  • Income/employment checks

Great tenants will protect and preserve your property.

5. Move In

The exciting part of all of this is when you turn the keys over to a tenant. There are many steps to this ordeal and you want it to be a great tenant experience. As property managers, our responsibility is primarily to the property owner. But we also want the move in experience to be optimal for a tenant.

There are many kinds of landlords. Some see tenants as numbers on a page (we call them “slumlords”). It’s not a great way to treat people. On the opposite end of the spectrum is someone who sees their rental as an opportunity to give someone a safe, comfortable, clean, functional home. Those landlords do the right thing.

You can be a fantastic landlord or property owner with happy tenants and make money.

Each property you own is your own business and the tenant is your customer.

At some point, every tenant will move out. What we know is that some tenants will push back during move out about charges or state of the property. When you move people in, you want to think about how to set yourself up for a successful move out.

We do thorough move in and move out inspections. This is hosted on the same digital platform, so tenants can see side-by-side examples of photos and notes about each element of the house. These can be immense, up to 155 pages long. This completely protects the landlord and ensures that there are objective criteria.

Lastly, we’ll review how to set expectations and clearly communicate with new tenants.

6. Rent Collection

Rent collection is a topic that covers everything from collection to evictions. We’ll cover all kinds of questions:

  • How to collect rent
  • What do you do if someone is late?
  • What are the laws in North Carolina?
  • What do you do with other types of lease violations?
  • What elements of a lease should you pay attention to?

Notice that we aren’t talking about writing the lease. That’s because we’re not attorneys and we use robust, legal leases. We won’t cover that too much but it is a vital element to have and it should be enforceable. Here in North Carolina, we have a robust lease from the North Carolina Real Estate Association. Many states will probably have similar offerings.

7. Routine Walkthrough

Tenants should understand what a property manager is doing (and why). Giving tenants the opportunity to communicate is important. As a lease property, this is currently someone else’s home.

We’ll discuss how to document these and how they can be used.

8. Accounting

We will share some tips from experts on how to save money on your tax bill and other major areas of income management. Most property managers or home investors aren’t tax or financial professionals. There are some huge opportunities for you to improve your operations. 

We’ll also discuss incomes and expense items, what receipts you need and what other items you need to keep track of. If you are a property manager being hired by an investment professional, they’ll ask you questions like this. At a high level, we’ll provide some information that can equip you to understand your cash flow.

There are a lot of favorable tax treatments of real estate in this country. The government incentivizes real estate owners with tax breaks. Once you understand the tax code better, you can save money.

We’ll also review tools.

9. Preventative Maintenance and Emergencies

The goal is to identify things before they become issues. If you perform the right visual inspections, you can get ahead of issues and make strategic improvements.

We’ll talk through some typical problems or wear and tear that we see here in Charlotte. One of these is a back deck. If it isn’t maintained properly, our major humidity and other climate-related dynamics can cause a deck to deteriorate pretty fast.

We find that even experienced landlords only have a limited, personal experience with specific instances. When you listen to this episode, you’ll get a cumulative understanding of all of the common maintenance needs and tasks. These things are easy to do but also easy not to do. We’ll give you insight and prioritize what you should take care of.

As we get into these issues, we’ll answers questions like this:

  • What should you be doing?
  • When do you have to do it?
  • Who should be doing it?
  • How do you handle it?

It’s important that you uphold your legal responsibility to your tenants. If something happens, you need a go-to plan and a fallback plan. Contingency plans and delegation are vital.

10. Lease Renewals and Negotiation

We often get questions about rent increases and renewals. Marketing, tenant communication, re-upping and more will all be discussed in this episode.

11. Move Out and Security Deposit

This can be a sticky subject for some tenants. We’ll discuss:

  • What to do with a security deposit
  • What to look out for
  • How to communicate clearly

Improve Property Management

Each of these episodes will be engaging and full of real-life examples. Our goal is that you get real action items from each episode that directly addresses your need and activates 

Be sure to bookmark this page and find the Investment Property Geeks of Charlotte podcast on any of these platforms: