Top 10 Charleston Rental Property Mistakes to Avoid (to Maximize Income), Part 2

April 29, 2021 | By Charleston Property Company

Did you catch Part 1 of our Top 10 Rookie Rental Property Owner Mistakes? In this continuation, we'll look at a few more mistakes that are easy to make—even if you are an "old-school" real estate investor in Charleston who has been doing this for years. 

As a professional Charleston property management company, we see property owners make plenty of mistakes that cost rental income and derail long-term wealth. If you recognize any of these errors and need help correcting them (and avoiding them in the future), we're here to help! Keep reading for Part 2 as we count down through our series of mistakes to avoid that work against maximizing real estate investment income!

Cropped view of risk manager protecting house model from falling wooden blocks with hands

5. Not Keeping Written Records

Without accurate (and up-to-date) documentation, it's challenging to hold renters accountable to the lease rules and responsibilities. "Your word is your bond" might be a noble way to inspire your business or assume trust in your renters—but it's not likely to hold up in court. 

While your lease needs to be solid, keeping accurate written records goes beyond the lease agreement. Tracking appropriate documentation includes:

  • Copies of letters between you and your residents or contractors
  • E-mails and text messages
  • Recordings or transcriptions of phone conversations or voicemails
  • Photographs
  • Renter requests (and responses)
  • Notices

Maintaining excellent documentation helps protect you and your properties in a Charleston court of law. It's also a smart way to stay organized when managing renters and vendors. If you're overwhelmed with the amount of paperwork for the successful operation of your rental properties, work with a Charleston property management company to keep track of everything. 

4. Neglecting Renters

You might not like every one of your renters, but rental property owners can't afford to neglect or ignore any of them. We know that the after-hours calls can become overwhelming, and responding to every little request can be tedious and exhausting. 

Successful real estate investors must manage renters with a professional approach while helping residents feel at home. When renters feel neglected, they aren't likely to renew their lease. Improving renter retention and keeping your best residents is a time and effort commitment that rental property owners can't afford to skip.

Renters won't stick around for absentee property owners. If you don't have a system (or the patience) for responding to renter requests—even during the evenings and weekends—the right Charleston property management team has the resources and experience to manage renters for you!

3. Asking Unlawful Questions on Rental Applications

A thorough rental application helps rental property owners collect critical information for comprehensive background checks. However, there are some questions you can't ask without violating the law.

The Fair Housing Act protects renters from any forms of discrimination throughout the screening and selection process. This law applies to the application, as well as your screening practices. To avoid discriminatory claims, rental property owners should avoid application questions that are too personal or indicate any bias in the nature of the question. 

If you're not sure if you're asking the right (or wrong) questions, work with a property manager to handle the marketing, screening, and leasing process for your Charleston rentals. 

2. An Inadequate Screening Process

We just mentioned following the law when setting up your rental application and screening process. While it can create uncertainty in your processes when trying to follow the rules (and avoid mistakes), it's essential to be thorough when screening residents. 

Without an in-depth screening process that applies to every applicant, real estate investors risk placing residents that don't pay the rent and cause property damage. The rental application should collect the information you need to run an appropriate background check. Make sure you use that information correctly to check credit history, check criminal history, verify employment and income, and contact references.

Puzzled business man thinking

1. Thinking of This Business as a Hobby

Having a rental property hobby is fine if you're okay with a small amount of income and the work it takes to earn it. However, if you want to enjoy more passive real estate investment income to build your long-term wealth, you can't think of your rental properties as a hobby. 

Part-time effort will yield part-time income. However, having the time and experience required for significant real estate investment income isn't easy for every investor.

Partnering with the best Charleston property management company helps investors generate "serious" income from their real estate investment businesses. When you view your rental properties as a business, you'll enjoy significantly more income while your property manager does the work for you. 

A Property Manager Helps Investors Avoid Mistakes! 

Being a rental property owner in Charleston can be a very lucrative undertaking and one of the best financial investments you may ever make. However, it can be extremely frustrating (and far less profitable) when the problems caused by making common mistakes begin to pile up.

Avoiding mistakes and making more money as a real estate investors is easier with the right property manager. Let Charleston Property Company help you minimize errors and maximize income!


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