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Step-By-Step Guide to Leasing Your Rental Property

There are a couple reasons why you may choose to lease out your rental property. For one, You could be the owner of several properties and decide to rent out a couple of them, instead of letting them lay idle. You could also be a struggling home owner and decide to rent out a room just to make ends meet. Either way, you need to ensure that your rental property remains safe. Everyone would want a win-win situation- income at the end of the month, and with no property damages accrued. Our friends at apartmentshattiesburg.com published an informative blog post showing you how to successfully lease out any of your rental properties. Read through the excerpt below and click the green button to read the entire post!


A Step-By-Step Guide to Leasing Your Rental Property

With renting becoming increasingly popular throughout the country, many people are turning their homes into an income-generating rental property.  Have you been considering this? If yes, it’s important to get clear on the ins and outs of becoming a landlord.  We’ve all heard the horror stories of terrible tenants so save yourself the potential trouble and do it right the first time by following these simple steps.

Know When Renting Your Property the Right Decision

leasing your apartment propertyPerhaps you are considering turning a second home into a rental property. You could also be looking to rent out your primary residence or even just a bedroom within it.  There are a few reasons why any of these would be a great decision.  Perhaps the market has taken a turn or you owe more on your property than it is worth, leaving you unable to sell.  Maybe you have a second property that is being largely unused, or you have been transferred temporarily out of town. In any case, rather than leaving your property sitting vacant, it can be a great idea to find a tenant.  A good tenant will help you to cover the expenses associated with the property. He will also deter looters, help with the upkeep, and hopefully contribute to your monthly cash flow.      

Know Your Responsibilities as a Landlord

The idea of additional income is the most common reason you might convert your property into a rental property, but being a landlord takes a lot of responsibility.  Your new role will include repairs and maintenance to the property, showcasing the property, collecting rents, screening, accepting, and potentially evicting tenants, ensuring that the tenant is following the terms of the lease and the HOA, if applicable.  Make sure that you are up to the task before you take the next steps.

Prepare the Property

Now that you’ve established your own preparedness, it’s time to get your property up to speed.  Take a look around your existing rivals (similar rental properties in the area).  Notice what amenities are being offered to potential renters.  Based on what you find, you can assess your own property and decide what repairs and upgrades need to be made.  The tough part about this is remembering not to go overboard.  You will need to take into consideration whether or not the money you sink into the property will be offset by the rental income you will be able to recoup. You may want to hire a professional cleaning company to come in once it’s all said and done to ensure that your property looks its very best for potential renters….


    

The Difference Between Condos and Apartments For Rent

Apartments in Hattiesburg MSMost people don’t think too much about the difference between a condo and an apartment. Both of these types of residences share very similar characteristics. However, there are some key differentiating factors to be aware of. This is especially true if you’re interested in purchasing or building a condo or apartment and renting it out.

Apartments Hattiesburg published an excellent blog post last month. It was called “The Difference Between Condos and Apartments for Rent.” The five main differences have to do with ownership, maintenance, availability, amenities and knowing which one is right for you. Please read the excerpt below. And if you find it as interesting as we do, Please read the entire article at Apartments Hattiesburg. You will find a button at the bottom of this page, which will take you directly to the original blog post.


Ownership

The largest difference between these two types of rental units comes down to ownership.

Condos

In a condo property, whether 4 units or 200, an individual owns each unit. Most owners have either purchased the property for investment purposes to rent out, or have once lived in the unit and are now renting it out. For a renter, the condo owner is your landlord and is responsible for all leasing, maintenance, repairs and tenant issues.

Apartments

An entire apartment community, whether 4 units or 200, is owned by a single entity. This is most often an individual or corporation who rents out apartment units within that community to tenants. For large apartment complexes, owners hire property management companies to handle all leasing, maintenance, repairs and tenant issues. For a renter, the property management company is your landlord and whom you go to for all related issues.

Maintenance

Another major difference between condos and apartments for rent is who takes care of the property and any tenant issues.

Condos

For any issues inside the condo unit requiring maintenance, renters will need to contact the property owner directly. Some owners are handy and will fix the issues themselves, others hire outside vendors to take care of problems.  For external issues having to do with the property structure (i.e. roof) and common areas, renters will still need to….

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You’ll love our Pet-Friendly Apartments in Hattiesburg, MS

Man playing with bulldogAs avid animal lovers, we know what it takes to get the stamp of “Approval” from and for your furry children.  SVN | Southgate Realty currently manages seven pet-friendly apartment communities in Hattiesburg, MS. We handpicked these seven communities to make sure that our furry residents are given the best quality in apartment home pet living.

Our seven pet-friendly apartment communities in Hattiesburg, MS and Purvis, MS offer ample, often large grassy areas to enjoy. The safety of your pet is important to SVN | Southgate Realty which is why each of the communities are set off of the main road and not in heavy-traffic areas. Learn more about each of our pet-friendly apartment communities below!

Policies and Requirements for Pet-Friendly Apartments

We do have some stipulations in place to make sure that all of our residents, including those who don’t have pets, are able to maintain the quiet and enjoyment of their apartment home. Some of our restrictions include breed, size, and personality.  Our on-site managers will meet with your pet(s) prior to approval to ensure they’re a good fit for our community.  We also require up-to-date vaccination records and emergency contacts.

There are also a few financial requirements in order to have your pet move in, such as a pet fee and a pet deposit, in addition to monthly pet rent.

If you are looking for a pet-friendly apartment in Hattiesburg, MS, we would love the opportunity to help you find the best place for you and your pet.  After all, it’s their home too.

Preparing your South Mississippi Rental Property for Hurricane Season

Hattiesburg Hurricane Season

Hurricane season for The Gulf of Mexico stretches from summer through the end of fall, and The 2016 Hurricane Season is likely to be more active than last year.

Five storms have been named so far this season – Hurricane Alex and Tropical Storms Bonnie, Colin, Danielle, and Earl. However, forecasters are keeping a close eye on Tropical Storm Earl as it’s projected to develop into a Hurricane.

Serious storm threats usually come in August, September and October. The good news is that major storms are rare, and Hattiesburg is 70 miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico. However, emergency preparedness is vital for South Mississippi residents. We at Southgate Realty, LLC always have safety in mind, and encourage our residents to be ready in case a storm hits the Gulf Coast.

How to evacuate in Hattiesburg

Even if Hattiesburg doesn’t take a direct hit from a hurricane, evacuation may be necessary for other reasons. For example, high winds and heavy rain associated with hurricanes often trigger power outages and area flooding. If a long-term outage is expected or area homes have been damaged, local authorities will open emergency shelters. Officials will use local radio and media outlets to tell the public where to go. Options in the past have included local schools, Red Cross Centers, multipurpose buildings, and other local community facilities.

If a severe storm is expected, emergency management authorities will ask residents to evacuate and move inland. The Mississippi Department of Transportation offers a hurricane preparation checklist and 2016 evacuation highway guide.

Communication is vital, if you evacuate, let your property manager know if possible. Also, be sure to let us know if you have any special needs that we can help with. Pets should never be left behind in an evacuation. Pet owners should stay tuned to local radio and media outlets to find out which shelters are designated as pet friendly.

Southgate will email and text important messages to keep residents informed and prepared.

How to prepare your apartment for a hurricane

Before a storm hits, be sure to buy emergency supplies for your residence, such as nonperishable foods, ice, candles, flashlights, batteries, a first aid kit, and a radio. Have clean water on hand — about five gallons per person. If you have young children, be sure to have enough diapers and food or formula on hand. You can also find ideas for a basic emergency supply kit from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Every Southgate Realty residence has a fire extinguisher, which is inspected by an independent fire and safety company every year.

Whether you expect to evacuate or not, there are steps you can take to keep yourself and your property safe:

  • Make an evacuation plan with friends and family ahead of time.
  • Bring any personal items you have inside. High winds can toss around even heavy outdoor items.
  • Use or cook as much as possible from your refrigerator and freezer in case of a power outage.
  • Wash and dry all your clothes before the storm hits.
  • Buy emergency supplies for your car, such as a roadside emergency kit, jumper cables and a map. Fill your car up with gas.
  • Withdraw as much cash from Banks and ATMs
  • Save critical phone numbers on paper and in your phone.
  • Pick up any prescription medicine you may need ahead of time.
  • Listen to the radio or check local media for nearby emergency shelters just in case.
  • Pack an evacuation bag if you think you may need to leave. Be sure to include your passport, other key documents and your phone charger.
  • If you aren’t evacuating, lower your freezer and fridge temperature to the coldest possible setting in case of a power outage. If the power outage is short, your food may remain cold enough to keep.

How Southgate Realty prepares for a hurricane

While you are preparing for the hurricane season, we are also preparing for potential storms. If a storm does hit, we want the recovery process to be as smooth as possible for our residents.

Before a storm, the Southgate team is working behind the scenes to prepare. We reach out to our vendors to create a plan of action. Our contracted roofers are on standby, ready to fix any leaks as quickly as possible after the storm has passed. Southgate communicates with insurance companies and emergency disaster relief officials to obtain the most current information. We prepare our emergency supplies, such as generators, tarps, food, water, and other supplies. In addition, we prep our apartment communities by securing all trash cans, pool furniture, and other outdoor items in case of high winds.

After the storm has passed, we begin working with all our partners to help repair our properties as quickly as possible and assist residents in any way we can. We are committed to effective communication with local relief efforts, insurance companies, vendors, and residents.

Emergency situations can be frightening, but preparing ahead of time can put your mind at ease. Know that we at Southgate Realty are working behind the scenes to be prepared and respond as quickly as possible.

 

Renting Your First Hattiesburg Apartment

Renting Hattiesburg Apartment

Moving into a new apartment usually means a long to-do list. The list can get even longer if your new apartment is your first time renting. Every apartment community is different. Some offer the convenience of all-utilities-paid, while others give residents the freedom to customize their utility usage and packages based on their needs.  There are four main categories of services to setup for new residents moving to Southgate Realty, LLC communities.

  • Cable/Phone/Internet: AT&T and Comcast are the two main providers throughout the area, and you can hook up service to either provider at any Southgate property.
  • Electricity: Depending on where you live, you will either have Mississippi Power or Pearl River Electric Power Association.
  • Pest Control: This is a service you don’t even have to worry about. It’s included at all Southgate locations!
  • Water/Trash/Sewer: Depending on your location, these services are either included in your monthly rent or available through the City of Hattiesburg.

Here is a simple guide to setting up your basic utilities when renting your first apartment in Hattiesburg, MS.

Cable/Phone/Internet

AT&T and Comcast, are the two main cable, phone, and internet service providers in Hattiesburg, and are available at every community.

AT&T

Deposit: Varies depending on your credit score.

Contact: AT&T, (800) 288-2020

Where to go: 6109 U S Highway 98 in Hattiesburg

What you need: A copy of your lease agreement and a photo ID.

Comcast

Deposit: Up to $100, depending on your credit score.

Contact: (800) 934-6489

Where to go: 2100 Lincoln Road in Hattiesburg

What you need: A copy of your lease agreement and a photo ID.

Also: You can connect by phone, online, or in person.

Free Wi-Fi in Hattiesburg

If you don’t want Internet at home, the City of Hattiesburg offers several free wireless hotspots:

–       African American Museum, 305 East 6th Street.

–       Bobby L. Chain Municipal Airport, 29 Academy Drive.

–       C.E. Roy Community Center, 300 East 5th Street.

–       Cultural Center, 722 North Main Street.

–       Historical Hattiesburg Train Depot, 308 Newman Street.

–       Jackie Dole Sherrill Community Center, 220 West Front Street.

–       Kamper Park Pavilion, 107 South 17th Avenue.

–       Town Square Park, the corner of Buschman Street and South Main Street.


Electricity

Hattiesburg has two electricity providers, Mississippi Power and Pearl River Valley Electric Power Association.

Mississippi Power

Deposit: $250, depending on your credit score, plus a $35 non-refundable connection fee.

Contact: (800) 532-1836

Where to go: 420 West Pine Street in Hattiesburg

What you need: A copy of your lease agreement and a photo ID.

Also: You can connect by phone, online or in person.

Southgate locations with Mississippi Power: 1 Square Apartment Homes, 2 Square Apartment Homes, Claridge House Apartment Homes, Concord Townhomes, Edgewood Townhomes, Hardy Manor Apartment Homes, Heathwood Apartment Homes, Holiday Apartment Homes, La Maison Apartment Homes, Magnolia Townhomes, Peppertree Apartment HomesPine Creek Townhomes, Robynwood Apartment Homes, and Woodshire Duplexes and Townhomes.

Pearl River Electric Power Association

Where to go: 6803 U.S. Highway 98 in Hattiesburg

What you need: A copy of your lease agreement and a photo ID.

Deposit: Up to $300, depending on your credit score plus a $5 membership fee and $45 non-refundable connection fee.

Contact: (601) 264-2458

Southgate locations with Pearl River Valley Electric: The Lake at Turtle Creek and Villa des Chene Duplexes.


Pest Control

We provide monthly pest control services to all our properties to ensure service is performed thoroughly and safely. We have the health and well-being of our residents in mind. We use reputable companies that are licensed, insured and bonded, and we make sure they use the methods that are safe for our residents and for our environment.


Water/Sewer/Trash

Water, sewer, and trash service is included in many of our communities, but a few require independent service.

City of Hattiesburg

Where to go: The City of Hattiesburg Billing Office, 105 South Park Avenue.

What you need: A photo ID and your social security card.

Deposit: $75

Contact: (601) 545-4634

Also: You can sign up for recycling pickup for an extra fee of $3 a month.

Southgate locations where residents connect water, sewer and trash service:  Pine Creek Townhomes and Woodshire Duplexes and Townhomes.

Southgate locations with water, sewer and trash service included: 2 Square Apartment Homes, Claridge House Apartment Homes, Concord Townhomes, Edgewood Townhomes, Hardy Manor Apartment Homes, Heathwood Apartment Homes, Holiday Apartment Homes, La Maison Apartment Homes, Magnolia Townhomes, Peppertree Apartment Homes, Robynwood Apartment Homes, and Villa des Chene Duplexes.

Argen Utility Billing & Water Conservation

For two properties, 1 Square Apartment Homes and The Lake at Turtle Creek, Argen Utility Billing & Water Conservation will provide water and sewer utility services. Southgate Realty facilitates account setups on behalf of residents. In addition, trash service is included at both communities.


There’s a lot to keep track of when you move into your first apartment, but the Southgate Realty staff are here to help make your transition as smooth as possible. Let us know if you have any questions or need help figuring out which property is right for you. We are here to help!

Information about Southgate Realty property utilities

Why Choose Mississippi Multifamily Housing

Key hanging in a front door lockMississippi has been churning through a steady growth as other states have struggled to recover in recent years. In some places, jobs are evaporating, and workers are looking for new cities to call home. But the good news is still coming out of Mississippi, where a healthy economy continues to expand and diversify. Investors are taking a second look at this business-friendly state. For the multifamily housing sector, now is a great time to be in Mississippi.

Mississippi creates business-friendly environment

Investors should first look at the price of doing business in Mississippi. In the end, the numbers tell the story:

  • Low cost of doing business. The Magnolia State had the second lowest cost of doing business, according to a study by CNBC. Factors in that ranking include data like taxes, utilities, wages and real estate.
  • Low cost of living. Mississippi has the lowest cost of living in the country, according to the same study.
  • Favorable tax rates. The corporate income tax is 5 percent, the 12th lowest in the country. Also, Mississippi ranked No. 6 on the list of tax-friendly states last year by Kiplinger.
  • Low energy rates. Electricity in Mississippi costs less than in most states, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

The state is known for shipbuilding, aerospace and timber, and growth is strong in manufacturing and technology. Mississippi is rich in resources, such as water, timber, oil and gas. Issues like earthquakes, drought and overpopulation are nonexistent.

“Mississippi is the complete package,” said Jeff Rent, public relations manager for the Mississippi Development Authority. “We have a very supportive governmental structure that is very pro-business. Not every state is like that.”

What does that look like? Less red tape and more efficient government processes means business owners are up and running in less time.

“When companies come here,” Rent said, “they know they’re not going to be taxed to death. That’s a very favorable, pro-business environment.”

That’s why positive development news is coming out of Mississippi all the time. Just this month, Continental Tire announced it will invest $1.5 billion in a new manufacturing plant, a project that will create 2,500 jobs.

Growth like that stirs demand in other sectors, such as multifamily housing.

“There is going to be an immediate need for available housing at multiple levels, whether it’s multifamily or single family,” Rent said.

Hattiesburg relies on diversified economy for long-term growth

Hattiesburg is the regional hub of a nine-county trade area, which includes a population of nearly 300,000. People are drawn in by all the city has to offer: fun nightlife, area attractions, a robust arts community, historical districts and top schools.

Retail sales are $2.5 billion, the second highest in the state, even though the area is the fourth largest metro, said Todd Jackson, business development director for the Area Development Partnership.

Hattiesburg was ranked No. 24 for restaurant growth by Restaurant Business Magazine, and it has been a Top 50 city for five years in a row.

“This vibrant college town is a place for booming retail and restaurant sales growth,” Jackson said.

It’s truly the diverse economy that keeps Hattiesburg growing, Jackson said. Besides retail and restaurants, the medical, education and military sectors are robust.

  • Nearly 6,000 workers are employed by three major medical facilities in the Hattiesburg area. A whopping 100,000 patients come through those facilities each month.
  • About 27,000 college students attend the four colleges and universities in Hattiesburg: the University of Southern Mississippi, William Carey College, Antonelli College and Pearl River Community College. Those institutions employ more than 2,000 people.
  • Camp Shelby is the largest state-owned training facility in the country. More than 2,000 people work at the base, and 100,000 personnel are trained there each year.

The population of Hattiesburg is growing at a rate of 0.8 percent annually. That’s more than twice as fast as the Mississippi statewide rate of 0.39 percent, and it’s also faster than the national rate of 0.68 percent, according to the census.

The combination of a solid economy and steady growth create a strong demand for multifamily housing, whether it’s military families in transition or college students going to school.

“It has to do with the diverse economy and the fact that this area was able to weather that storm better,” Jackson said.

This region’s ability to weather economic lulls has resulted in more investors from outside our market turning to south Mississippi. A healthy, thriving economy, has multifamily investments becoming a place of stability for investor yields. Southgate Realty has been a leader in Mississippi multifamily investment real estate for more than 35 years. We combine the local knowledge investors need with the industry-leading CCIM and IREM standards they expect.

Southgate Realty, LLC Apartment Screening Process Benefits Residents and Property Owners

Southgate Realty LLC Apartment ApplicationThose looking to rent a residence through Southgate Realty, LLC may wonder about the steps and purpose of the applicant screening process. It’s a comprehensive system that pays off in the long run for both residents and the property owners.

Southgate background screening looks at credit & criminal history

Southgate Realty puts each application through a series of screenings to ensure potential residents meet specific standards. Some multifamily property managers offer a “background check” or “credit check” for potential residents, but the Southgate screening process is much more in-depth. The entire screening process takes only a few moments once all documentation has been received.

We review three key areas in our screenings:

  • Credit review. Southgate professionals are looking for the absence of a poor credit score, whether that is a high rating or a lack of credit. Financial requirements are tailored for individual properties. In addition to protecting the property owner, this process also safeguards residents. Rent that is financially burdensome could trigger additional financial problems for a struggling apartment resident. An applicant’s monthly income must be three times as much as the rent for the unit that applicant wants. Setting a minimum monthly income that’s three times as much as rent is a best practice, though not all property managers do so.
  • Sex offender database. Applicants’ information is checked against a national sex offender registry. Anyone listed in that database is not approved.
  • Criminal search. Some criminal convictions will result in automatic application rejection. Those convictions include drug distribution, violent crimes and sexual crimes not otherwise listed in the national sex offender registry.

Residents benefit from background screening process

No screening process can guarantee the safety of any single resident, but it can cultivate a positive, stable environment for residents.

Residents who can afford their home are less likely to leave or be evicted. Cutting mobility gives neighbors consistency, and long-term residents get to know one another.

Overall, the process tends to attract more responsible residents who care for themselves and others, so residents can live in a community with like-minded individuals who follow the rules.

Screening adds value for property owners

Also, checking applicants’ credit and criminal histories can benefit property owners financially.

For credit screenings, property owners want to know residents have the ability to afford their apartment home. Fewer moves means less wear and tear on shared property assets, such as stairways, elevators and parking lots. Turnover can cut into profits for multifamily housing investments. Not only do owners lose rent during the time when apartments are unleased, but they also pay to restore apartments to marketable conditions.

Too much movement can also drain curb appeal. Potential residents don’t want to see moving vans sitting in a community parking lot every week. Overflowing trash containers or eviction notices send negative signals as well. And residents who leave their rental properties under less-than-desirable conditions may give poor reviews of a property — both online and by word-of-mouth — even if the responsibility lies with those residents.

For criminal background screenings, reducing crime is not only good for residents, but can potentially cut insurance costs for owners. When done properly, warding off criminal activity can result in fewer police calls. Insurance carriers review the number of times police are called to an apartment community when analyzing risk and calculating insurance rates for multifamily housing owners.

Apartment screening benefits communities

The Southgate Realty screening process is designed to benefit both residents and property owners. For potential residents, it protects against leasing an apartment that could be unaffordable. For current residents, it helps provide a stable environment where long-term residents can build a sense of community. For property owners, less mobility means more consistent profitability. The screening process is quick but thorough, and it’s one that results in a better experience for everyone.

Southgate Realty offers online rental applications for all 17 of our communities.