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Welcome to     706.491.6953 is owned and managed by Lancaster Properties LLC, a Property Management Company based in Toccoa, GA.  We develop and manage residential and commercial rental properties in Northeast Georgia and upstate South Carolina.  Let us put our 25 years of experience in property management to work for you!

We specialize in the following property types:

  • Residential (Homes, Duplexes, Lofts)
  • Commercial (Office, Storefront, Warehouse) 

We offer the following servicesimg00073-20100510-1421

  • Property Management
  • Tenant Placement
  • On-going Full Service Management
  • Real Estate Investment Services
    • Purchasing, Developing, and Renovating
    • REO Turnaround Services for Lending Institutions


Renting - The New American Dream?

Home ownership rates are falling, and the trend is expected to continue. Is something fundamental changing in the American psyche?

Mark Kiesel and his wife, Amy, sold their Newport Beach, Calif., home near the peak of the housing bubble. They put most of their possessions in storage and rented a 1,400-square-foot apartment that's still their home, five years later.  Kiesel is managing director at investment management company Pimco. His research for work helped him spot the coming crash, and his research today tells him there's no hurry to buy a home again. Besides, he's happy as a renter.

"I'm considering buying," he says, "but I'm pretty confident that I'll be waiting to buy for quite a while." Kiesel has plenty of company. While real-estate listings languish, the demand for rentals is growing. Nationally, rental occupancy is 93.1%, a rate last seen in 2007 (but below a peak of 96.6% in 2000).

The basics of buying a home: Renting "has cachet. It's the new black," says Stan Humphries, the chief economist at Zillow. His company's research found that a quarter of Zillow users were open to buying or renting, leading the company to add rentals to its property and to unveil a feature that lets users estimate the rental value of a listing. "There's a wall of capital moving into apartment development," says Jeff Meyers, a principal in Meyers LLC, which advises investors on the multifamily housing industry. "Put it this way: It's easier for an apartment builder to get a construction loan than it is for the average American to get a mortgage." Plenty of reasons to rent Is renting about to replace property ownership in the hearts and psyches of Americans? With the traumatic disruption in housing lately, it certainly feels as if something fundamental is changing. Some economists believe an elite class of renters may be developing: high-earning workers who live in big coastal cities and switch jobs readily, Humphries says.

Powerful forces are contributing to the rise of renting:

  • Foreclosure refugees. "We're going to take 5 million to 6 million homeowners and turn them into renters because they're going to lose their house to the bank," predicts housing analyst John Burns, the CEO of John Burns Real Estate Consulting. Credit reporting company TransUnion surveyed 1,252 managers of large and small apartment complexes last month and found that nearly half had reported an increase in tenants moving from foreclosed properties.
  • New households. As soon as the economy started improving, people who'd been waiting out the recession by living with friends or family started to strike out in search of rental homes of their own.
  • Fear. Many renters have the finances to own a home, but, like Kiesel, they don't want to. They sleep better without their savings sunk in a deteriorating housing market. Or they're younger and childless and like the freedom of renting. Or they're empty nesters who've had enough of home-maintenance chores and expenses.
  • Tight credit. With home prices down about a third since 2006, lots of other renters would love to buy a home at current low prices, but they just can't. Even many with good credit. Newly chastened lenders are granting home loans to very few applicants.
  • Gen Y. The biggest factor in the rental boom may not be the housing crisis at all but rather the gigantic Millennial generation -- the cohort born in the 1980s and '90s. Now at average age 20, the Millennials, or Gen Y'ers, as they're also called, are a big reason for the rental demand.

Renting is huge elsewhere In several countries -- Germany, France and the Netherlands are three -- many or even most people are lifelong renters. In Germany, for instance, the family and neighborhood stability that's supposed to come from homeownership comes instead from laws protecting renters, says Dean Baker, a co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. Carefully written laws take landlords' rights into account as well, he adds.

Although it's unlikely the U.S. will become a nation of renters, homeownership rates are likely to keep falling -- and to settle well below the recent highs but also well above 50%. Humphries, the Zillow economist, thinks it may eventually stabilize at around 64%. Kiesel, the Pimco analyst, sees a slow economic recovery driving it perhaps as low as 60%, a rate last seen in the late 1950s. But Kiesel describes himself as bearish. Few experts expect it to reach as low as Germany (43%), the Netherlands and Denmark (54%) or even Japan (61%). But even those who see Germany as a model for the U.S. don't expect we'll get there. Each nation's mix of owners and renters tends to stay fairly stable because each depends on a complicated mix of forces, says Michael Lea, the director of the Corky McMillin Center for Real Estate at San Diego State University. Those include:

  • Government subsidies that encourage renting over owning or vice versa.
  • The availability of mortgages.
  • Cultural values.
  • The historical and economic predominance of landlords versus homeowners.

Emerging nations usually have the highest homeownership rates. That's because strong laws supporting renting haven't yet developed and few homes or apartments are available for rent. For example, homeownership rates are 71% in Mexico, 74% in Brazil, 75% in Thailand and 96% in Armenia, according to the Housing Finance Information Network.  Where rates are high, many owners may be squatters or have poor title to their land, as in Latin America, says Lea, an expert in real estate and mortgages internationally. The U.S. government has been pushing homeownership since before World War II. We've got mortgage guarantees through Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae and the Federal Housing Administration; a mortgage-interest deduction; a property tax deduction; and a capital-gains tax exclusion for selling a primary residence. Not all countries subsidize homeowners as heartily as the U.S. does. In Australia, Britain, Canada, Germany and Japan, for example, homeowners can't deduct mortgage interest from their taxes, Lea says. All but Australia and Japan, however, exclude a home sale from capital gains taxes. In the U.S., the emphasis may change some, but a complete cutoff of housing's IV drip of tax money is very unlikely. Last year the mortgage-interest deduction alone ($131 billion) far exceeded the cost of the Afghanistan war ($105 billion) and dwarfed the $48 billion spent on all Department of Housing and Urban Development programs. Combined, federal tax breaks for American homeownership and subsidized mortgages cost $230 billion in 2010. And housing typically goes where the money goes. In contrast, only $60 billion of U.S. taxpayer money goes toward making renting more affordable. Only about a quarter of those who are eligible can actually get Section 8 rental housing subsidies. "We just don't fund it," says Lea. "Congress has never come close to appropriating enough money." A major reason people like renting is that it's flexible. Renters can pick up and move with little notice or expense. That freedom allows them, like Kiesel, to ride out the current economic storm while deciding what to do next. Rent hikes switch the balance But as competition for rental homes drives rents higher and as home prices continue to fall, the balance is about to shift, making buying the more affordable option. On average, rent prices are up 2% this year nationwide, and they could rise 3% more next year, according to Meyers. Price increases are likely to cause lower-income renters serious difficulty. "Tenants will be pushed into properties of lesser value as rents increase," says Meyers.   New rental properties are under construction, but shortages could arise, particularly in Boston, Los Angeles, New York, San Diego, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and San Jose, Calif. At the same time, assuming that mortgage credit eases up some, many renters could be driven by rent hikes into the arms of home sellers. "My rent hasn't really gone up in five years, and I'm expecting it to," Kiesel says. "That could influence my decision. It's set to renew in January, and I can tell you that if it goes up a lot, I might want to buy. My view on the market is that we are getting close to the bottom." But for most renters, the pressure of rising rents isn't a good enough reason to buy. It can be a lot harder to get out of homeownership than it is to get in. When you own your own home, if your income drops or your life changes and you have to sell but can't, you're stuck. For lots of people, renting is always the right decision, whether it's the American dream or not.

copyright August 24, 2011

Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 April 2016 07:40  

Did you know...

8 Reasons Renting Is Better Than Buying

By Amanda C. Haury | March 15, 2017


A lifelong goal many citizens strive to achieve is homeownership. While many people in North America own their own homes today, this wasn't always the case. Historically, families either needed to build their own homes or rent a home from someone else. While both renting and buying have their own sets of financial advantages, renting does appear to have an edge when the economy is poor. There are tremendous financial benefits to renting as opposed to buying a house of your own. Here is a look at some of the reasons why renters can have the better financial deal than homeowners.

No Maintenance Costs or Repair Bills

A definite advantage renters have over homeowners is that they have no maintenance costs or repair bills to pay off. When you rent a property, your landlord is responsible for all maintenance and repair costs. If an appliance stops working or your roof starts to leak, you do not have any financial responsibility to have these things fixed. Homeowners, on the other hand, are responsible for all their own repair, maintenance and renovation costs. Depending on what the repair is, these costs can be quite extensive.

No Real Estate Taxes

An obvious benefit that renters have over homeowners is that they do not have to pay real estate taxes. Real estate taxes can be a hefty burden for homeowners and vary by county. Although property tax calculations can be complex, they are determined based on the estimated property value of your house. With houses getting larger and larger, property taxes can be a significant financial burden.

No Big Down Payment

Another area where renters have the better financial deal is upon signing. When purchasing a house with a mortgage, you're required to have a sizable down payment, ideally 20%.  8 However, you do not have to have a huge down payment saved up to move into a rental property. While the exact amount you need to move in varies from case to case, the total amount is significantly less than you would need to buy a house.

According to a graph released by the New York Times, many landlords require a rental deposit equal to the amount of one month's rent while a down payment for a house is much higher. For example, with a 5% deposit on a house that has a market value of $175,000 your move-in costs start at $8,750, which is much more than the average one-month rent rate. Also, those buying will want to save up much more than 5% for their initial down payment because the bigger the down payment, the better. In short, bigger down payments can save you thousands of dollars in interest.

Decreasing Property Value

Property values go up and down, and while this may affect homeowners in a big way, it affects renters substantially less if at all. Home value determines the amount of property taxes you pay, the amount of your mortgage and more. In a rocky housing market, renters are not as adversely affected.

Flexibility to Downsize

In today's economy, many people struggle to make ends meet. By renting, citizens have the option to downgrade into a more affordable living space at the end of their lease. When you are a homeowner, it is much more difficult to break free of an expensive house because of the fees involved with buying and selling a home.

Fixed Rent Amount

Rent amounts are fixed for the span of the lease agreement. While landlords can raise the rent with notice, you can budget more efficiently since you know the amount of rent you are required to pay. Meanwhile, mortgages and the amount of the property tax can fluctuate.

Lower Insurance Costs

While homeowners need to maintain a homeowner's insurance policy, renters would be wise to invest in a renter's insurance policy. Luckily for renters, renter's insurance is much cheaper, and it covers quite a lot. The average cost of renter's insurance is just $12 per month, according to the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America. Meanwhile, the average homeowner's insurance policy cost ranges between $25 to $80 per month.

Lower Utility Costs

With homes getting larger and larger, it is often much more affordable to heat and power an apartment or small rental home as opposed to a larger home. Rental properties typically have a more compact floor plan, and renters can expect lower utility costs.

The Bottom Line

While owning a home may be beneficial for citizens over a long period, for many people renting is the better option. There are plenty of examples that show how renting can save consumers a considerable amount of money. The choice of whether to rent or buy your own home is a personal one. Before making a hasty move, review the details and make the financial decision that is right for you and your family.