Being a landlord or property manager means keeping up with a lot of moving parts. From finding the right tenants to staying on top of basic maintenance needs, there are a lot of things to consider — and a lot that can fall through the cracks.
Here are a few key points to keep in mind, whether you’re managing one rental property or many.
Know Your Responsibilities
It may be up to your tenant to pay the rent on time, but it’s up to you to make sure the property is in good condition. You’ll need to check in periodically, perform basic maintenance tasks, and respond to your tenant’s requests in a timely manner. Make it clear in your leasing paperwork what will (and won’t) be your responsibility; for example, some landlords will cover lawn maintenance themselves, while others will leave that up to the renter. If your leasing agreement doesn’t outline these specifics, you could find yourself in a standoff with your tenant — and you’ll be the one stuck fixing it.
Know the Market
Real estate is a fickle business, and property values can change rapidly. As a landlord, you need to stay informed about prices in your neighborhood. Research the going rate of comparable rentals, and make sure you’re charging a price that’s fair to both you and your tenant. Pricing your property low might help get it rented out faster, but doing so could end up costing you more in the end. A low monthly rate could even scare tenants off, as they might assume there are hidden issues that make the property undesirable. At the same time, pricing your rental too high might leave you with an empty property for months at a time.
Know Your Tenants
Properly screening your tenants is crucial! You’ll want to be sure your potential renters have a stable income and don’t have a history of evictions, or worse yet, a violent criminal background. Running a credit check and criminal background check is easy to do (hey, we might know a few people!) and can save you thousands of dollars in the end. It’s also extremely important to always follow fair housing practices when you’re conducting these screenings — every potential tenant deserves to be treated the same way.
Managing a rental property isn’t easy, but it can be a rewarding experience for you and your tenants. Take the time to establish clear boundaries and obligations, understand the rental market you’re operating in, and do your due diligence in knowing who you’re handing the keys. If you’re ready to start your journey as a landlord, give us a call! We’re here to help you find (and keep!) the best tenants for your property.