To make your job as a landlord easier and more lucrative, there are ways you can streamline your rental processes and protect your assets simultaneously. Running your rental property need not be stressful, and with a few key tips you can find great tenants and make the most of your investment. If you’re considering increasing your number of rentals, make sure you’re optimizing your current properties before expanding.
1. Using Property Management
If you’d prefer to utilize the services of property managers, you have a wide variety of companies to choose from. Property managers can take away a lot of responsibility and stress from busy landlords. They can handle rent collection, eviction problems, and maintenance issues—meaning a whole lot of stress of your shoulders. Their services don’t come cheap—the usual fees range from around 7% to 10% of your rental income—but the cost can be a worthy investment for landlords that have other commitments which make face to face interaction with tenants hard.
2. Be Well-Informed
Even if you use a property manager, you’re still liable for any broken legal regulations. Staying on top of local ordinances, state regulations, and federal laws will give you peace of mind and keep you and your tenants as safe as possible. Have the proper documentation on hand, understand your rights and those of your renters, and be wary of the mistakes made by other landlords. Your precautions will save you headaches in the long run.
3. Make Office Hours
It’s necessary that you be available should issues come up for tenants, but that stipulation comes with its limits. If you are the point of contact, instead of a property management company, let your tenants know you will only field calls from 8 to 5 each day, or whatever time span works for you. Obviously in case of emergency, tenants can call, but if and only if it’s something that needs immediate attention. Best practice is to answer at any time, but putting in these limits will make sure tenants don’t abuse their ability to call you and incessantly complain.
4. Find Long-Term Tenants
The longer your tenant stays with you, the less vacancy periods you’ll have, which means more money overall. Finding a long-term tenant isn’t always an easy task, but there are steps you can take to make sure you have the best chance of securing a great renter that stays for years. Use something like Smartmove tenant reports to check any potential tenant’s credit score, criminal past, and prior evictions. Keep up good relationships with your tenants to ensure they want to stay, and always be responsive to their needs.
5. Maintenance is Important
Don’t put off updating things. The worse you let it get, the more costly it’s likely to be. Keep up with maintenance, and if you’re not handy with a hammer, find a good repairman who you can call for any issue that comes up. If you can, take some courses or buy a handbook and teach yourself easy fixes that can save you money in the long run. Make sure appliances are running well and efficiently, and heed any tenant complaints about faulty furnaces or other issues. This will protect you from legal action and keep your property in mint condition, which means less work when you do eventually have tenant turnover.
6. Be Consistent and Rigid About Rent
It can be tempting to let things slide, especially for a tenant you personally like, but allowing any tenant to pay rent late with no repercussions can be a slippery slope. Make it clear when you pick your tenants that you will charge a late fee if the rent is late, no matter the excuse. This is an important facet to include in your lease, as it leaves no room for argument. With this clear understanding, they will prioritize their rent, and if they don’t you will enjoy extra money to make up for the stresses of getting rent late.
Finding great tenants and running a successful rental business can be made less stressful by following these useful tips. By balancing strict policies with reliability and respect, you can create a symbiotic relationship with your tenants and make the most of your rental property.