2016 Hilton Head Property Management Guide

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THERE ARE AMAZING REWARDS THAT COME WITH OWNING RENTAL PROPERTY HERE IN THE LOWCOUNTRY. 

You’re able to enjoy your own piece of paradise: a place to relax, rejuvenate and reconnect with family and friends. As a Lowcountry property owner, you can take advantage of beach parks built just for you and enjoy discounts on golf, retail and restaurants. Your property can be a place to create long-lasting memories for years to come, and it could become your future retirement home.

The financial reward for rental property owners begins with asset appreciation. For prospective rental property buyers, real estate transactions have been steadily increasing over the past few years while median pricing has remained relatively flat. Couple current pricing with low interest rates and an incredible amount of renovation and redevelopment momentum on Hilton Head Island, and you have a high probability that you will build equity in your property in a relatively short period of time.  The income generated from rental activity will help offset taxes, insurance and maintenance expenses. Consult your lawyer and accountant to understand the tax benefits of owning rental property and how to best structure the property’s ownership.

If you are considering purchasing or already own a rental property on Hilton Head or Daufuskie islands or in Bluffton, you have two options: rent it short-term as a vacation rental or long-term with a residential tenant. There are certain advantages and benefits to both. 

Long-term rentals work very well for owners or investors who don’t want to use the property regularly; the benefits of a fixed, regular rent check is very appealing and your property may not receive as much wear and tear as would a short-term rental. Long-term rental managers can make ownership extremely easy, and their fees are usually well worth avoiding the time, energy and problem-solving skills necessary to manage your long-term rental.

An experienced property management company has seen thousands of applications and knows how to quickly dig for the real facts about rental candidates and analyze that information for warning signs. By allowing a management company to handle the screening process, you will also be shielding yourself from rental scams directed at owners and discrimination lawsuits resulting from an inconsistent screening process.

If you own a desirable property, something a visitor would love to spend a vacation in, renting short-term is a great option. Hilton Head hosts more than 2.4 million visitors annually, and more than 50 percent of those guests stay in home and villa rental properties.

In today’s technology- and internet-driven world, more and more vacation property owners are attempting to book and manage their properties on their own. But what often happens is these owners can soon get overwhelmed with responding to reservation requests, maintenance and housekeeping issues and even late-night phone calls if, for example, a rental guest has locked themselves out of the property. What started as a “hobby” can quickly turn into an overwhelming full-time job. The good news is there is a wide selection of exceptional vacation rental management companies here in the Lowcountry.

Hiring an effective rental manager can greatly ease the burden of property management and fees; their services can often pay for themselves through increased revenues and peace of mind, and may even have tax benefits for you. So how do you choose the right company and what are the top functions you can expect from your vacation rental manager?

The best vacation rental management companies are first and foremost all about marketing. Look for a company that not only has an attractive website, but also is well-known in the community and has a strong presence in respected, well-read media outlets. Your property should be marketed locally, regionally and globally, utilizing the hundreds of vacation rental distribution channels readily available.

Next, your vacation rental manager should take care of your property like it is his or her own. Look for a company that offers outstanding cleaning support.

Property managers know their properties from floor to ceiling to ensure that renters sleep comfortably during their visits and property owners rest easy every night.

There are many reasons to choose a property management company to oversee your property. According to many experts, here are the top 10 reasons to hire a property management company:

1. Peace of mind. You’ll sleep easier knowing that someone is taking care of any problems that may arise, even if you’re hundreds of miles away.

2. Maximize rental income. A property management company has tremendous resources to market your property, advertising in a multitude of channels and giving your property a wide exposure.

3. Worry-free transactions. Your rental management company takes care of reservation confirmations, keys and visitor passes, making renting your property a hassle-free experience.

4. Financial accountability. You’ll be able to keep track of your property’s profitability thanks to an itemized account of your rental income and expenses.

5. Routine maintenance. Your property management company will offer maintenance staff capable of addressing many issues, and for more complex problems, the company can suggest trusted outside vendors.

6. No late-night phone calls. There’s nothing worse than a late-night phone call telling you the toilet is overflowing. Your property management company can eliminate this pesky problem by handling all calls from renters.

7. Fewer tax worries. Eliminate tax headaches by having your property management company process any accommodation taxes paid by guests.

8. Marketing. You’ll never worry about marketing your property again. Your property management company has the resources and expertise necessary to effectively market your property with no hassle.

9. Cancellation protection. Should a renter back out, you won’t have to worry — your property management company will clearly promote its cancellation policy, protecting you.

10. Control of use. You’ll be able to enjoy the use of your property whenever you choose, but still receive income when it is rented.