So, you want to collect monthly income with minimal work, huh? Don’t we all! The truth is that being a landlord isn’t always so glamorous, and there are some common pitfalls that are easy to fall into. With some old-fashioned preparedness and sweat equity, you’ll have a leg up for sure. But there’s some vital pieces of advice you should be aware of before you can shake your first tenant’s hand.
Sign Great Tenants
In a way, having awesome tenants is a sign all on its own that you know what you’re doing, because great tenants are hard to find. Much like job interviews, everyone puts their best foot forward on rental applications, and during open houses or tours. First impressions are important, but you cannot rely on them alone. Therefore, tenant background checks by SmartMove are crucial to the decision-making process.
The software does all the work for you—giving you total confidence in any potential new tenant. These checks will even give you a generated recommendation after processing all the data with its magic algorithms. Smart background checks are what separate the in-the-know landlords from the newbie landlords.
First and foremost, your tenants are real people. They have lives, triumphs and failures, families, jobs. Get to know your renters well enough to make small talk on a semi-regular basis. Give them a plant and a box of chocolates during the holidays. Respond to their requests and crises with patience and professionalism and be positive whenever you can.
No one likes a needlessly mean stranger for a landlord. The more they know you, the more they will respect you, and the better they will treat your rental by association.
But Not Too Nice
The most successful landlords understand that their rentals are their business. No matter how wonderful your tenants are, you still share a business relationship. You can’t afford to be overly forgiving when it comes to accepting rent late, accepting partial rent, overlooking lease violations, and returning deposits. The only person with your rental business’s best interest at heart is yourself so know when to be firm. You are the landlord; you’re allowed to be stern and put your foot down, and to run a successful business you need to.
Know When to Call Reinforcements
A huge part of being a landlord is answering for all your rentals’ repairs. Most of the time, depending on how handy you are, you can handle them on your own with a trip to the store and maybe a quick Google search. Be careful of biting off more than you can chew, however. There is no shame in hiring a professional to fix the plumbing, or the wiring, or the drywall, or the patio.
Your priority is the safety of your tenants, and that is best left up to someone who really knows what they’re doing. You may think you’ll be saving money by trying to fix the big things yourself, but this is rarely the case. Time is money, and you are not a real plumber—no matter how many toilets you’ve unclogged.
Be Open to Outsourcing
Hiring a property manager can be one of the smartest investments regarding your rental properties. Doing so will minimize interaction with tenants and take the pressure off you directly for handling emergency repairs. Yes, hiring help is an additional expense, but it will practically pay for itself in the time and effort you will save.
Nearly 40% of households are renters. Being a landlord can be extremely lucrative and rewarding—if you’re smart about it. Do yourself some small favors to CYA; make sure your insurance is squared away, and don’t neglect your rainy-day savings account for those unforeseen emergency repairs.
Maybe you’ve been told that it’s difficult to be a successful landlord; however, all you need is some extra proactive steps to ensure your liability bases are all covered, and enough maturity to handle your business with grace and patience.