Congratulations! You launched your property management career and are officially a landlord. Although you have a new mortgage to pay, insurance to buy, and maybe some home repairs to cover, a small investment in some key tools will help you run your new business effectively.
Here are some suggestions based on the experiences of veteran landlords:
Advertising for tenants might sound straightforward or extremely complicated; the truth is that some rental units are easy to fill, while others require landlords to kick in a free 70" LED TV and a full-time masseuse, depending on the market. Below is not a step-by-step directions list but a general roadmap, to help new landlords find the fastest, least expensive way to fill their rental unit with a qualified tenant.
Shoddy tenant screening is to blame for many tenant problems that landlords experience. Bad tenants will refuse to pay rent, ruin your rental property, invent reasons to sue you, and then tell the judge that you're evicting them unfairly. In short, they are an expensive nightmare.
So how do you spot these rotten apples?
After you’ve reviewed an applicant’s rental application, credit report, criminal background and verified their income and housing history, and you feel confident in their likelihood to pay the rent and treat the property well, it’s time to execute a legal contract to formalize your arrangement. Call the applicant, inform them of your decision to move forward, and schedule to time to meet them in person at the rental property.
If signing the lease agreement in person at the rental property sounds inconvenient, well, property management is work, and there’s no shame in hiring someone else to do it if you don’t want to do it.
Nor will any template lease off the internet work. (Easy for us to say, right? Still, this is important.) Absolutely, positively use a state-specific lease agreement – otherwise it may well not hold up in court when/if that time comes (and it does, frequently). You can hire an attorney…
Just like Elton John’s “Circle of Life”, there is of course a cycle to tenancies; new tenants come, stay a while, then move on (hopefully without doing too much damage to the property), and then it is time to find the next tenant to make your rental property their home.
The recent tenants have vacated your property, and you’re now paying the mortgage and anxious to find new tenants to occupy your vacant rental unit. Where do you begin?
First, are the gas and electric still on? If not, contact the utility company to turn them on immediately.
Second, call in a contractor or handyman to make any necessary repairs (a new paintjob is always advised). Quality, trustworthy, affordable contractors and handymen are difficult to find – see our