At a glance, being a landlord seems simple: all you have to do is collect rent each month and help your renters with occasional issues around the property, right? Wrong.
In truth, a lot of work goes into becoming a landlord. First-time landlords may not realize how much effort goes into renting out a property–and the more properties you work with, the more there is to do.
Managing a property takes more than printing a lease and waiting for someone to sign it. Many of the intricacies are lost on first-time landlords, but this article is here to help.
Keep reading to learn eight important tips that can give you an edge when you’re first starting as a landlord.
1. Choose Tenants Carefully
Renting out a property is much easier if you have good tenants: people who pay their rent on time, obey the rules of the lease, and don’t damage your property. Finding such tenants can be tough.
Screening your tenants can help you find red flags before a lease is signed.
2. Avoid Renting to Friends
This might sound a little counterintuitive after the last piece of advice–you know your family and friends, so you can vouch for them without screening, right? What happens if an issue does come up, though?
Friends might take advantage of your relationship to bend the rules of the lease, leading to bad feelings on both sides.
3. Master Bookkeeping
Bookkeeping is a vital skill for any landlord. It’s important to keep track of everything: who paid rent and when, what expenses you incur when working on a property, and so on. All those notes will come in handy at tax time!
4. Memorize Housing Laws
It’s crucial that your properties are up to code. Learn your local housing laws and ensure that all of your rental properties meet them, or you could end up in serious legal trouble.
5. Make Small Renovations
It’s amazing what a little bit of work can do to make a home more inviting. Adding a fresh coat of paint or fixing up a few small problems will make your rental properties much more appealing.
6. Make Sure Your Lease Covers Everything
The key to being a successful landlord is to have a thorough lease. Don’t leave anything out: be clear on your policies regarding pets, subletting, late rental payments, and anything else you can think of.
7. Research Your Properties
Don’t just buy the first property you see. Do your research on the area; is the property in a good neighborhood? How much can you reasonably charge? Is the timing right?
Remember, owning a property is useless if no renters are interested in it.
8. Use Property Management Services
You don’t have to handle property management on your own. Some companies can help you.
Finding Success for First-Time Landlords
First-time landlords have a lot on their plate. Property management is no simple task, but you can make things easier by screening your tenants, staying on top of your bookkeeping, and using property management services.
Using the latest technology to streamline your business can be a big help too–online tenant portals make it easier to collect rent, for instance. Read our tech blog for more information about useful software for your business!
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