5 tips for Charleston investors looking to get into the Airbnb game

Charleston is one of the country’s hottest markets for Airbnb investors. But knowing the pitfalls that arise within the short-term housing industry is a must for those who want to be successful at it

Airbnb and similar vacation rental portals have changed the game in real estate investment. The benefits of renting a Charleston investment property on Airbnb are many, and it’s a trend conscious property managers and owners are jumping into headfirst.

But knowing the risks that arise within this industry is a must for those who want to be successful at it. Here are a few tips to help your clients avoid the common pitfalls associated with renting out Charleston investment properties on Airbnb.

Know municipal restrictions 

Make sure you know your local laws. For example, Charleston’s City Council recently finalized a new set of rules that allows short-term rentals citywide, but only under strict circumstances. It bans whole-home rentals and requires property owners to stay home whenever they host guests.

While this new ordinance only affects the City of Charleston, for many who have already invested in downtown’s short-term rental market, this is a crushing financial blow. As such, if you are considering an Airbnb type investment in downtown Charleston, do your homework first!

Be aware of taxes

Income earned from short-term rentals is taxable income. The City of Charleston is now charging short-term rental investors additional fees and taxes, namely business license fees and accommodations taxes. Knowing what taxes and fees to expect in your locality is a must prior to engaging in the short-term rental business. Again, do your homework!

Vet guests

“If you vet your prospective guests correctly and manage expectations, you will have a positive experience,” Heatheran Kristopher, SRCI Group International consultant, said.

Things get riskier when an incoming guest has never tried Airbnb housing before, and he or she doesn’t know what to expect from the process. She stresses that “giving those guests attention upfront is a must to ensure that they have a pleasant experience.”

Beef up insurance

Before renting out property, homeowners need to check in with their insurance agent. “The insurance industry has not caught up with the latest trends in technology and real estate,” James Steele of S&T Insurance Agency explains. “Nine out 10 times policies have strict exclusions for short-term rentals.”

Most homeowner’s insurance policies carry a business pursuit’s exclusion, and liability falls on the homeowners.

While Airbnb and other hosting sites offer trip protection to their users, make sure to consult with your insurance provider. Remind your clients that insurance is complicated and that waiting until they actually have a claim is not the best time to sort out their coverage.

Check condo rules

Chances are, your client’s condo bylaws or rules and regulations prohibit short-term rentals. Make sure your client reviews his or her condo documents carefully.

It is typical for a condo association to require a minimum lease term for any renters, and a requirement for association board approval is also typical.

Paint your interior for favorable Reviews

The success your Airbnb investment is inextricably linked to the quality and favorability of your guest reviewsA cross-sectional study of Airbnb reviews sites dirty walls and chipping/cracked paint as the 4th highest “interior” guest complaint (behind kitchens, bathrooms & home furnishings).

While kitchen, bathrooms & home furnishing renovations often run into the tens of thousands of dollars, painting your interior surfaces is a cost-effective way to make your guests feel more comfortable and far more likely to leave favorable reviews. Charleston Realty Painting specializes in “quick turn” painting projects for real estate professionals. Contact them today at 843-640-5892 to improve your Airbnb reviews.

Notarize debuts systems for fully automated online closings

Updates to the Notarize Mortgage API are geared toward title agents and lenders

Notarize, a digital platform for legally notarizing documents online, has had a transformative year: the company was selected to join The National Association of Realtors’ REach Accelerator program, launched Notarize Mortgage API (for fully automated closings) and garnered strategic financing from NAR investment firm Second Century Ventures.

Now, Notarize is expanding the Notarize Mortgage Platform with the addition of three new products: Notarize for Title Agents, the Notarize Title Network, and the Notarize Smart Routing Service.

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Quicken Loans sibling In-House Realty purchases ForSaleByOwner.com for $2.5M

The acquisition will allow Quicken Loans to create an ‘all-in-one’ housing marketplace, linking Rocket Mortgage borrowers, an agent referral network, and now, homes for sale

Detroit-based In-House Realty — a sister company to lending giant Quicken Loans — announced on Wednesday the purchase of ForSaleByOwner.com for $2.5 million. The online marketplace that exclusively features “for sale by owner” listings was previously owned by media conglomerate Tronc.

Continue reading Quicken Loans sibling In-House Realty purchases ForSaleByOwner.com for $2.5M

NAR made $20 million from DocuSign IPO

Second Century Ventures, the venture arm of the National Association of Realtors, invested in the electronic signature provider back in 2009

WASHINGTON — When DocuSign went public last month, the National Association of Realtors got a $20 million piece of that pie, according to NAR CEO Bob Goldberg.

Goldberg is also the president of Second Century Ventures, NAR’s venture capital arm and an investor in electronic signature provider DocuSign before its initial public offering. He, along with NAR’s leadership team and other staffers, spoke at the Treasurer Budget Forum at NAR’s midyear conference on Thursday.

SCV, a wholly-owned subsidiary of NAR, got $43.8 million for selling 28 percent of its DocuSign shares in the IPO, after initially investing $5 million, NAR First Vice President Vince Malta said at the forum.

Continue reading NAR made $20 million from DocuSign IPO

3 Reasons to hire a Professional painting company for your Charleston Home

Like most homeowners, you probably consider your home your biggest investment and taking care of it is crucial. When it comes time to paint, you may find it tempting to do it yourself, but you may want to consider hiring a professional painting company to do the job. Here are three compelling reasons to hire a painting professional:

A Professional Painting Contractor Will Save You Time and Money
If you’ve ever attempted a do-it-yourself project, you know that the task can easily get out of control. You need to make multiple trips for special tools or brushes, and it’s difficult to finish the job on time. With a professional painting company, you’ll have multiple people working on your project at the same time, cutting down the length of time needed for completion. When you hire an expert, you’ll get the painting done on schedule, freeing you up to spend your time on something more fun.

Most do-it-yourself projects end up costing much more than your original budget. Not knowing how much paint or which tools you’ll need can add unanticipated expenses. From set-up to clean-up, when you hire a painting expert you’ll not only get the job done on time, but you’ll have less strain on your wallet.

A Professional Painting Contractor Will Deliver Quality
Today’s painting choices involve more than just oil or latex. Charleston Realty Painting has experts with years of experience in the industry who know how to paint properly and have all the tools required to do a quality job. You surfaces need to be prepped properly, and the paint needs to be applied uniformly. Hiring a professional will avoid surprises and ensure your paint finish is done correctly and will last for years.

A Professional Painting Company is Safer
What will happen if you fall off your ladder and hurt your back? Every painting project requires safety precautions related to the work. Common hazards can cause severe injuries and loss of income. If you have to pay a deductible for a paint-related injury, you’ve just increased your spend. Charleston Realty Painting is licensed and insured, and all their painting contractors are trained on safety rules to prevent accidents and reduce your risk of injury claims. Why put your safety at risk?

If your Charleston home is beginning to look a bit shabby and you’re considering having it painted, the painting experts at Charleston Realty Painting will save you time, money, and headaches. Call them today at 843-640-5892 for more information about transforming your home.

The government wants to know what’s up with real estate pocket listings

NAR’s Melanie Wyne and industry attorney Mitch Skinner discuss federal regulators’ concerns ahead of June real estate competition workshop

WASHINGTON — Pocket listings and state regulations regarding dual agency and minimum service requirements may be on the agenda at the real estate competition workshop to be held by Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission on June 5.

That’s according to Melanie Wyne, the National Association of Realtors’ senior policy representative who spoke at the Council of Multiple Listing Services (CMLS) Brings It To The Table event Tuesday, held in conjunction with NAR’s annual week-long conference, the Realtors Legislative Meetings and Trade Expo, a.k.a “Midyear.” In conversations with the DOJ and FTC, NAR is trying to get a handle on the issues they want to cover and the questions they want to ask at the workshop, Wyne said.

“We’ve been able to identify discrete issue areas that may be of concern to them. They’re asking a lot of questions about pocket listings,” as well as state regulations regarding dual agency and minimum service requirements, Wyne told about 200 attendees at the event.

Continue reading The government wants to know what’s up with real estate pocket listings

3 tips for breaking into the luxury real estate niche

It’s all about understanding your audience and delivering service they value

There’s a big difference between being the real estate agent next door and representing high-end clients in the luxury real estate market. Although you can make a healthy living in the first capacity, you can make a killing in the latter.

Below, we’ll talk through the advantages of getting into luxury real estate and three tips for breaking into the niche.

Continue reading 3 tips for breaking into the luxury real estate niche