In 2018 alone, landlords received a hefty $353 billion in rental income, which makes it seem like being a landlord is the ultimate goal. However, there is so much more to it than just the money. There are many things that you’ll need to learn about being a landlord and managing rental property.
You see, landlords don’t always have an easy time managing their properties and have an even harder time with tenant management. Some tenants can be a nightmare, but you need to be aware of the good and the bad, so you can succeed.
Still, if you’re willing to put in the time and effort, your first rental property could turn out very profitable for years to come. Keep reading below for some tips on how to make sure your first rental experience goes smoothly.
1. Be Aware of Your Local Laws
Before you go renting out your rental property, it’s important that you know if there are any special laws or requirements that are specific to your area.
Your local government may require you to file certain paperwork, apply for a permit, or complete other actions to verify your rental business’s legality. Ensure you’re aware and proactive about these things before you even consider renting out a property.
2. Get Familiar With Your State’s Landlord Laws
The state where you live will also have its own set of rules and regulations concerning how landlords operate their businesses. It’s important that you familiarize yourself with these laws as well.
After all, ignorance is not an excuse when it comes to the law. Seek help from your state’s department of commerce if you need clarification about landlord rules and regulations.
3. Find a Reputable Management Company
When you have multiple rental properties, it becomes necessary to hire someone who will be responsible for the day-to-day maintenance. Some landlords choose to manage their own properties on their own. However, this can be very time-consuming and demanding.
Furthermore, it can prove to be difficult if you don’t already possess the skills required to manage rental properties. If you feel like you don’t want or cannot perform all of these tasks yourself, consider hiring a reputable property management company. They could save you money in the long run by taking care of things that often end up being neglected otherwise.
4. Take Good Care of Your Rental Property
Landlords should strive to keep their properties looking as nice as possible at all times. This encourages people to choose their rental over other options.
Instead of just letting your properties sit and collect dust, take a few hours out of your week to inspect them and perform the necessary maintenance tasks. An excellent way to keep track of when things need repairing is by setting up a regular inspection schedule.
5. Get to Know Your Tenants
One of the best things you can do for yourself as a landlord is to screen your tenants. Before you allow anyone to sign a lease, conduct a thorough background check on them. Go the extra mile and ask for references from their previous landlords and verify that they’re employed.
As your properties start to accumulate tenants, you’ll quickly discover that getting on their good side is the key to promoting a smooth-running landlord/tenant relationship. Take time to visit with your renters and get to know them better on a personal level.
Ask them what they like about living on this property and what they’d change if they could. By doing this will create an open line of communication between yourself and your renters.
6. Stick to Reasonable Rental Prices
If your rental prices are too high, you may turn away potential tenants.
Additionally, some of your tenants could have trouble making consistent monthly payments, which will always lead to problems between you and them. Landlords who charge excessively low rent can also have a hard time if their tenants end up damaging the property.
7. Join Landlord Associations
Joining an association for landlords can be an excellent way to network with other property owners. You’ll have the opportunity to share stories about your rental experiences, get better landlord advice from others, and even hear about any legal changes that might affect your business.
8. Don’t Try to Handle Repairs Yourself
Many first-time landlords think they can save money by doing things like fixing up walls or roofs themselves. While this might hold true in the short term, it’s likely that you’ll end up spending more money than originally planned.
You see, not everything will go smoothly when you choose to DIY. Moreover, if you try and fix certain problems yourself and end up making them worse than before, you’ll be the one who has to pay for the repairs. Always hire professional contractors, especially when it comes to serious issues like plumbing and electrical problems.
9. Be Alerted to Emergencies
If you’ve ever had a plumbing problem or broken appliance that went undetected for too long, then you know what can come of it. Issues like mold, mildew, pests, and other things could cause more problems for you and the tenants.
Make sure that all appliances in your rental properties are checked on a regular basis, so emergencies like these don’t sneak up on you. You could even make it a rule to check on some things once per month and for others twice a year.
10. Don’t Interfere With Your Tenants’ Privacy
Even though they pay you every month to live in their home, they’re still your tenants. Forcing your way into their homes or going in when they’re absent is an invasion of privacy.
If you must check something inside the house, ask the tenant in advance and conduct whatever checks you need to while the tenant is home. You need to maintain a good relationship with your renters if you want them to stay for long periods of time.
11. Always Charge Your Rent on Time
If you don’t charge rent on time, chances are tenants will start missing payments as well. If there’s one thing you absolutely have to be punctual about, it’s asking for the rent.
Be sure that rent money gets to your bank account on a designated date of each month. This will help ensure that tenant payments never fall behind and they don’t lose faith in your business.
The Best Advice for First-Time Landlords
As a rental property investor, one of the best things you can do is learn how to be a good landlord. There are many landlords that find success and satisfaction in their rental property investments. If this is your first property, follow our guide so your journey can start out smoothly.
And if you need help with property management, reach out to us for help.