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Real Estate - Residential

Couple Launching Wilmington Franchise Of National Property Management Firm

By Cece Nunn, posted Jul 5, 2019
Colin (from left) and Debbie O'Connell are launching a Real Property Management Champion location in Wilmington. (Photo by Cece Nunn)

A Wilmington couple said they want to tap into the needs of a growing local rental market as they launch a Port City franchise of a national company.

Colin and Debbie O'Connell have moved into Suite 314 at 1430 Commonwealth Drive and are planning a grand opening celebration this month of their Real Property Management Champion location.

Previously, the O'Connells lived in Pinehurst and Sanford for almost two decades. Debbie O'Connell was a Realtor with RE/MAX for about 12 years in Pinehurst before she served as an accountant for the city of Arlington, Texas, and Colin O'Connell has a background in leading sales and marketing teams for manufacturers, including a $65 million company.

Explaining their journey to Wilmington, Colin O'Connell said, "I took a job in the Dallas-Fort Worth area about three years ago, and it was great job, but we missed North Carolina. And our kids had gone to UNCW and worked down here for a while, so we picked Wilmington to jump out of the corporate world and start our own thing."

The O'Connells picked Real Property Management Champion because they felt it gave them the opportunity for growth, Colin O'Connell said.

"I wanted something where we could eventually get into bringing in employees, building a business," he said.

And in Wilmington, the rental market and demand for property management services continues to expand, Colin O'Connell said, with investors buying homes downtown, the need for rentals for college students, including those who attend the University of North Carolina Wilmington, and in some cases merging households that want to keep one of their homes. 

The fact that rental units are in high demand, the O'Connells said in a news release, "has attracted sophisticated rental property investors who command a higher level of service and greater returns on their investments."

A grand opening with a formal ribbon-cutting ceremony for the O'Connells' Real Property Management Champion franchise is set to be held at noon July 23 at the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce in downtown Wilmington.

Real Property Management Champion specializes in managing single-family homes, townhomes, condos, multiplexes and small apartment buildings, according to the release. Based in Utah, it has more than 300 offices throughout the U.S. and Canada.

"Its services include finding and screening tenants, completing the lease agreements, collecting rent, arranging for any necessary repairs, and processing evictions when necessary," the release stated. "Real Property Management Champion closely monitors federal, state and local laws regarding landlord and tenants and helps property owners maintain legal compliance as changes occur."

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