By JIM PARKER
The Post and Courier
The David Tice you see now may be gone in a few weeks.
No major life changes forthcoming, but the typically clean-shaven businessman recently grew a beard to emulate some facially hairy players on his favorite baseball team, the Boston Red Sox, who are playing in the World Series.
The impulsive move may indicate a risk taker. Actually, Tice talks about trying to keep an even keel. But if he did take a chance once before, it was April 2011 when he opened his own rental management business, Charleston Property Co.
Tice, of Summerville, had obtained a real estate license five years earlier in 2006, literally months before the national housing crisis hit. The slump lasted until early last year and its aftershocks can still be felt.
“I got into the real estate market at the perfect time,” quips Tice, whose title is property manager in-charge.
Still, the entrepreneur plugged away. When the housing business nose-dived, he went to work with a friend who ran a company that oversaw rentals. He worked there on the side before delving into property management as a full-time job.
Three years ago, Tice made a career decision. He approached his brother Brian Tice, who holds an MBA from Stanford and engineering degree from Vanderbilt; and father Ralph Tice, a retired Marine, about investing in his property management venture.
They agreed, going on to help bankroll Charleston Property Co. and now working with him in financial roles at the company’s unassuming office off Tobias Gadson Boulevard west of the Ashley.
The trio bring different strengths to the table. His Dad is the conversationalist, his brother the financial whiz and Tice — a former timeshare salesman and auto sales associate — claims the position as top marketer. “The balance is very good,” he says.
Charleston Property Co. today manages 200 properties, including homes, condos, townhomes and apartment buildings, across the Lowcountry. That’s not too shabby for a venture that Tice launched from his bedroom via laptop computer, starting with eight properties.
Tice says he realized early on he needed a niche. “I saw other companies chasing opportunity. They try to get their hands into other stuff.” He decided, “Instead of doing five things mediocre, do one thing perfect.”
The entrepreneur threw himself into property management. He earned membership in the National Association of Residential Property Managers and became an Accredited Residential Manager with the Institute of Real Estate Management.
In its 31 months, Charleston Property Co. has stayed up to date on the latest business advancements. “We are a very technology driven company,” Tice says. “Still, things need to be personal.” He takes monthly photos of every property, then sends them to the owners. That way, they can be kept up to speed on what’s going on with their investments.
The housing crisis shook up lifestyles, Tice says. “A lot of people are first time landlords” leasing out their properties to cover mortgage payments or are “renting for the first time,” he says.
Tice says he tries to keep harmony between owner and resident. “My client is the owner, the tenant is the customer. We split it down the middle.”
Most of the company’s properties rent for $1,000 to $3,000 a month. Some residents earn enough money to buy, but at one time faced credit problems so they can’t purchase a home for a set period of time, he says.
Investors, too, can get in over their heads. “My biggest advice to the owners is don’t count on rent money for your mortgage.” He recommends at least three to six months of rental income on hand.
All the while, Charleston Property Co. maintains a low overhead.
Along with his father and brother, Tice works with property manager Chantel Morris and a leasing agent. His sister Megan Tice joined the company for awhile but moved on to be an agent with a local real estate firm.
Tice credits his girlfriend Sara Pachota for being “a patient person. She has balanced me from work with home,” says Tice, who considers himself a workaholic who at one time wouldn’t blink at regularly putting in 12-14 hour days.
While scaling back his workload, Tice says he’s satisfied with the company’s steady growth.
“We’re going to keep concentrating on property management,” he says, noting the family-owned company aims for at least 400 clients in the near term and 1,000 properties in the next four to five years.
Growing up in a military family, Tice moved around a lot during his youth. He doesn’t plan on relocating any time soon. “We are called Charleston Property Co. (because) we want to stay here.”
For more, visit the company website at www.charlestonpc.com.
Reach Jim Parker at 937-5542 or firstname.lastname@example.org.