August 18, 2016

Episode 2: The Upstate Rental Market

Home Sweet Home!

Daniel Madison of 4M Property Solutions talks to us about the Upstate Rental Market. We talk about things to consider whether you are a renter looking for a new home or a potential landlord, plus the neighborhoods that offer the best bang for your buck in the Upstate!

(Apologies for the relatively poor audio on this episode, including the phone ringing … still learning lessons! We promise next week will be better!)

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(Transcript has been cleaned up for clarity.)

[Beginning of Transcript 00:47]

Anja: Welcome to the 864Living Podcast! Today we’re talking to Daniel Madison from 4M Property Management. 4M Property does residential property management throughout the Upstate. Welcome, Daniel!

Daniel: Thank you! Good to be here.

Anja: So, Daniel, how long have you lived in the Upstate?

Daniel: About 1998 was when I moved here. I came from Columbia South Carolina, so then South Carolina made up my whole life, but Upstate since 1998.

Anja: So, can you talk to us a little bit about, in a market like today where it’s a sellers’ market, why renting a property might still be a good idea?

Daniel: Yeah, today’s market is a super market [00:36 unintelligible] selling and buying, as well as the rental market. The influx of folks that are coming to Greenville, the demand, is really, really high. Everyone has a different objective of what they’re trying to accomplish, and so for some it’s better to sell the property and then cash out. For others, they have a different need, and they’re working to hold on to a property for a period of time, or to invest, or maybe even have multiple homes. And so today’s market is really, really good, whether you’re selling, you’re buying, or you’re renting. Buying is probably the most challenging, both as a person who is looking to buy a new home, as well as an investor, because the market’s so strong.

Anja: Do you feel like affordable housing in general is becoming an issue in the Upstate?

Daniel: Affordable housing is becoming more challenging. You see a lot of multi-family coming in to our downtown regions of Greenville and even Spartanburg. However, as you think about affordable housing, we’ve seen an increase in rents of 10% over the last year. That trend continues and at some point it has to level out. That’s going to become a bigger challenge as time goes on. I don’t know what that looks like and what that feels like, but we’re certainly seeing that and understand that at some point that has to level out.

Anja: Is there a type of property that seems to be the most popular right now or that is maybe ideal as a rental property?

Daniel: Yeah, absolutely. Three-bedroom two-bathrooms are always the standard as you look at a property.

Anja: If I know I’m moving and I’m considering the question of, “Do I hold on to this property and keep it as an investment property and rent it out, or do I sell it?”, what are the things that you think a family should take into consideration when weighing those options?

Daniel: You know, to review those questions each person’s going to be different. You’ve got to understand what your goal and your objective is in order to get to the right answer there. For some folks it’s going to be to sell the property. They need the cash out of the property. They don’t want to continue to have maintenance and other things that go along with the rental process. For others, they are looking to come back to the property in a few years. They’re looking to meet a temporary need, and so resort to that. The rental market allows them to meet that need. We have some folks that are travelling on job assignments for two and three-year periods and they’re able to meet those needs through the rental market. And then for others they’re looking for a return on investment or maybe the possibility of having an additional second or third home, and the rental market allows them to be that. So, again, understanding what the goal is, what you’re trying to accomplish through that, and then making a decision based around that will lead you in the right direction.

Anja: Daniel, what’s the one thing that you wish first time property owners who are getting into the rental market, what’s the one thing you wish they knew going into it?

Daniel: You know, it’s about quality; two different things, two parts to that question. It’s about quality, doing the right things on the front side of a home, making sure that a home is properly rent-ready, that all the service items have been addressed, it gives you a good platform in order to be successful on the rental market. The other side of that is understanding what the tenant market is. There’s a lot of misconceptions about who rents homes today, and what we see and what we experience in the rental market is not generally folks that rent as a result of having to rent, but they rent as a desire, and they have a need. Maybe they’re here on assignment for a few years. Maybe they’re just moving to the area, and they want to get feet on the ground and decide what’s the best are to purchase in. Others are in a life change, and, as a result of that, rent fits that need for that time period. Many of our residents today rent as a result of choice, not as a result of not being able to purchase homes, so having folks understand that allows you to see the rental market in a little different scope than many think of it.

Anja: If I am looking to rent my home, how do we go about determining the rental value?

Daniel: You’ve got the standard information—your square footage, number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms. Things that also consider is your school zoning, or what areas does that home zoned for for school, the neighborhood amenities. Are there pools, tennis courts, walking paths? Are there restrictions in the neighborhood? What kind of restrictions are you going to have as a landlord or owner of a property as it relates to pets and things that can and can’t be done within the property? Those things all play a factor in valuing a property. We take that information and we combine it with the market analysis that will give us 50, 100, or more properties that rent in the area, and so that information in conjunction with that current market conditions gives us a range to be able to provide information to owners to get a realistic rental value for a home. And there’s a lot more to it than just what your neighbor’s house rents for as you consider that, and so you have to go through all of that, as well as the condition of the home. Has it been upgraded? Is there granite counter tops in that home or the 1960’s counter tops that have never been changed in the home; bathrooms, kitchens, etc.? And so there’s a lot of factors that goes into that, and it really takes someone that has the access and the understanding of the market to be able to get that information, compile it, and then navigate that with you so that you have a bit of understanding of what those rental values may be.

Anja: So that’s something that it sounds like you would recommend the home owner getting in touch with a property manager such as yourself to kind of do that analysis, rather than…that’s maybe not something that’s super easy to DIY.

Daniel: Yeah, there’s a lot of resources and tools that are online that can give you some ranges. We offer that service at no cost as a resource to landlords and the owners as we start that conversation, as we evaluate homes with them. And so I think that engaging a property manager there that uses the resources and tools and has an understanding of the market place, or help in the determining what a fair rental value may be on that, to position yourself so that you can be successful within that.

Anja: What neighborhoods in the Upstate do you think right now provide the best value from a rental perspective?

Daniel: The east side of Greenville continues to thrive, but as you look at the outline areas, statistically, and what we’re seeing numbers-wise, those are the areas that are experiencing the fastest growth, and they’re bringing the best values. Greer and the Downtown Greer area is a very quick moving, very appealing market. Simpsonville and that surrounding area we see that in. The Sans Souci area, as a result of its proximity to the Swamp Rabbit Trail and downtown, is very appealing. We see a lot of folks that don’t want to pay downtown prices, but because of the Swamp Rabbit Trail they can move just a little further out. They can enjoy all the same benefits and can get downtown very quickly, and so we see a lot of growth in that area. And so there’s a lot of different areas based on what your needs are, or what your employment is, what your recreational needs are. There’s so many great options in Greenville. It’s hard to pinpoint just one or two, but those are some areas that we see that are really on fire right now.

Anja: What apps, websites, or resources do you think are the best way to find rental properties as they become available?

Daniel: You know, as they… Someone is looking for a home today it’s probably one of the most challenging things to do. You can find a home to purchase much, much easier than you can find a rental home. And so the reason for that is that homes that sell have an MLS system, and everything goes through a centralized system, and then it’s posted out from there. The rental market doesn’t work in that fashion. And so you have the MOS that some folks still use; many folks do not. You have a multitude of different websites. Each property owner and/or management company only manages their particular portfolio, and so, unlike the realtor, if you have ten houses that you want to see, and two of those are with 4M and the others are with other property managers, unfortunately we only have access to those two, so it’s a very challenging market to navigate. We hear that frustration very consistently. My recommendation is use your major websites. and tend to be the two major rental sites today. They’re leading the charge. Make sure that you sign up for their notifications. Make sure that you are on a list and that you’re notified quickly as things become available. I would research the local managers in the area. Get on their list. We have a great list where we notify folks as soon as a home becomes available. In a market like what we experience, with the aggressiveness that we experience, it’s critical to move very quickly, and so you need to understand what you’re looking for, what you’re willing to accept, not accept, and you need to be able to make quick decisions on homes. The other frustration we hear is that as soon as we saw a home, it was already leased. We experience that on a daily basis, so you’ve got to be able to make a quick decision in order to secure that unique home or that home that fits your needs in that specific area as you look at that.

Anja: Daniel, you mentioned that folks can go and sign up for an e-mail list to get notified when you have properties available. Can you give us the web address where they can go online and sign up for that?

Daniel: Yeah, absolutely. Our website is, and as you go to that site, you’ll click on the “For Rent” tab, and there’ll be a place there where you can sign up for notifications, and you can put specifics, so geography, bedrooms, bathrooms, so specifically what type of home you’re looking for. As soon as we post them, you’ll get a notification of that and are able to book, apply directly online, see general information, be able to contact our staff directly to get more information and details.

Anja: Daniel, in your opinion what is the Upstate’s best kept secrets?

Daniel: I will say that personally I really love Seneca. I love the Highway 11 area, and I love all areas that you can kind of scoot off and navigate from there. There’s so many natural simple places that really make up the Upstate’s landscape that it’s hard to choose just one, but the lake areas and Highway 11, it just doesn’t get much better than that.

Anja: Well, thank you so much, Daniel, for giving us your time today and for being such a great resource for us to learn a little bit more about the rental market here in the Upstate. I hope we will be able to hear from you again in the future. If you have any questions for Daniel, I will make sure and put that web address in the show notes, and you can reach out to him. But do you want to give us maybe the best way to get hold of you?

Daniel: Yeah, absolutely. Yes, Daniel Madison. Our office line (864) 640-8877. My e-mail address is my first name, We’ll post that website address as well. We look forward to connecting with you. I hope that we can be a resource, whether you’re looking for a home, or if you’re considering renting a home, or even navigating into investment properties for the first time.

[End of Transcript 13:08]

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