Owning property, even as a landlord, can be a wonderful experience. Not only is your business providing people with quality housing, but you are able to consistently depend on a certain amount of income each month without having to physically work very hard. Like any business, problems arise, but if you are prepared to take care of people and your business you will get through them.
Being a landlord nowadays is a growing business as well, especially if you’re buying a property in one of the country’s metro areas. In fact, approximately 80% of Americans live in 350 of the country’s metropolitan areas. If nothing else, that should give you some insight into where it might be prudent to buy and take care of the property. There are many factors to consider when buying and acquiring property which will only be known to you, but with some landlord tips and tricks, you might be able to put yourself ahead of the rental estate game.
In this article, we’ll go over some landlord tips and tricks that will hopefully help you out. From trying to select a property to finally upgrading it and doing repairs, we hope to cover the main areas of being a landlord. Of course, the list cannot be exhaustive, but we will try to cover the basics as best as we possibly can. Issues with tenants and natural occurrences (floods, tornadoes) will inevitably occur, but you can get through them if you are prepared with the right information.
Finding A Place To Rent Out: Property Choice And Location
There are many properties in the USA and the world at large. So many, in fact, that you may be overwhelmed by which to choose and where to locate your business of being a landlord. It’s something that they don’t usually go over in those helpful landlord tips and tricks articles, even though they probably should. Luckily, choosing a property is easier than you think. With a little creativity and know-how, you’ll be able to find one that satisfies all your needs.
When scouting for property to rent as a business, you need to keep your budget in mind. You never want to buy more than you can afford, and certainly, you don’t want to be in over your head with paying a larger than life mortgage when scouting for tenants. Add to this the cost of repairs, upgrades, and keeping the property in code and you’ll have your work made out for you. Therefore, you should set a budget for what you can afford for a property and try to work within those constraints.
Many articles that contain landlord tips and tricks will try to suggest areas that you should buy property, but unfortunately, they can never be specific enough. Only you know the area that you live in or want to do business in, and you will be able to actually put boots on the ground to find out the nitty-gritty details. Through some sweat, hard work, and tough business negotiations you will be able to find a property anywhere in the world.
Making Sure Your Properties Are Safe And Up To Code
Once you’ve selected a property and are looking to rent it out, you’re going to want to make sure that it’s safe, inhabitable, and up to any building codes that might be present in your area. For example, if the building that you’ve recently acquired is old and has asbestos inside, you’re definitely going to want to engage in some sort of asbestos abatement procedure. It is illegal and immoral to allow someone to pay to live in a property that will eventually be detrimental to their health, and whatever money you make will be less than the cost of inevitable lawsuits and professional scorn.
Sometimes you acquire a property that is structurally sound but isn’t “up to code” in a modern sense. For example, you may have gotten an amazing deal on an old house that doesn’t have problems or danger but lacks air conditioning. Even if you’re in a climate that doesn’t necessarily require air conditioning, the culture at large expects modern buildings to have some sort of air conditioning present. So even if something is not required by law, you may be losing out on future tenants or prospective clients by not upgrading with the norms of society at large. It may therefore be prudent to consider air conditioning installation at such a property.
When you get contractors or other specialists to help you with upgrading or renovating your properties, make sure that you choose ones that are consistent with their construction accounting and don’t make errors or mistakes frequently. We all understand that “estimates” are just that, estimates, but it’s frustrating to try and run a property as a business when you’re not sure how much you’re paying to fix it up and get it working. Being frugal and consistent with repair costs is one of the most prudent landlord tips and tricks to heed.
Having Problems Fixed And Properties Upgraded
As a landlord, it is up to you to make sure that your properties are in good condition and that problems tenants experience are fixed as soon as possible, especially if they result in something like water damage or the inability to live in the unit. While many landlord tips and tricks articles will try to make a cost/benefit analysis of how often you should fix problems or upgrade appliances, there really is no set schedule that is correct to follow. It is up to you and the law with how you manage your properties, but you should be willing to pay the consequences for your actions.
If you’re looking for some practical landlord tips and tricks when it comes to fixing problems, rely on the old adage: sooner is always better. Rather than waiting for the roof at one of your properties to finally cave in, consider hiring a roofing services company to come in and take care of the problem in style. Not only is it possible for you to get a better roof (which might attract future tenants), but it’s simply the right thing to do. Treat your tenants how you would want to be treated by a landlord, and you can never go wrong.
When it comes to upgrades in your apartments or properties, consider them with caution. While it’s nice to put in a water sanitizing unit so that residents can have amazingly fresh water, it is also another thing that can break down and cost a lot of money to fix. It’s one thing if the tap water is unsuitable to drink (in which case you need to install a water sanitizing unit), but putting in expensive upgrades really adds up over multiple units. This is great until they break down and necessitate costly repairs, which is something that many landlord tips and tricks articles seem to gloss over. Anything can break, but try to make those breaks affordable if possible.
Making Things Look Pretty
Landscape maintenance is not usually very high on lists of landlord tips and tricks, no matter where you look. That’s a shame, because how your properties look not only reflects on who will be attracted to them, but speaks volumes about you as a landlord. If your properties are continually in a state of disrepair, have overgrown vegetation, or other common eyesores, then you shouldn’t be surprised if you’re not getting the highest quality tenants in your property. First impressions ring true both in professional and personal life, and that starts with making things look nice.
While you don’t necessarily have to plant a whole host of flowers or fruit trees in front of your property, it also can’t hurt. In fact, anything that you do to make sure that you are creating a pleasant and peaceful environment for tenants will be appreciated by both future and current residents. Humans are animals after all, and it’s been proven that being in a calm and relaxing natural environment is good for mental health, which will make your job as a landlord that much easier.
Having your properties in tip-top landscaping shape will also help you charge the highest market rent in comparison to other properties in your area. When a property looks nice and is maintained, people want to live there and rent it out. You will not only be attracting quality tenants, you will be attracting a larger number of tenants who simply want to live in a nice place. Since you will have your pick of who lives in your property, it will enable you to select the highest quality tenants that cause you the least amount of problems.
Tenant Relations And More
Something that is rarely discussed in articles about landlord tips and tricks is tenant relations. That is, how to properly interact and get along with tenants in a way that keeps your business afloat while not getting intertwined too much in their lives. While there is certainly nothing wrong with knowing your tenants on a personal level and having their contact information, it can go too far in some instances. You want to be available for them to text or call you if there’s a chimney leak in your properties, but probably want to avoid casual chats more often than not.
However, this really depends on the size of your properties and how you interact or manage them. Obviously, it is much easier to know 10 tenants in a small apartment building than it is 300 in a larger complex. If you only own two or three houses that you rent to families, the same logic applies. At the end of the day we can only talk to and interact with so many people before it all becomes a blur, so try to manage it in your favor as one of your personal landlord tips and tricks.
If you are so inclined to foster a better than average relationship with your tenants, you can always provide them with small gifts or appreciative tokens. If you know your tenant’s birthdays, you can deliver them practical birthday presents or take a certain amount of money off their rent for that month. During Thanksgiving, Halloween, or other non-religious holidays, you can deliver candy or presents of food. When you make your tokens of appreciation wide-reaching and applicable to all your tenants, they will tend to appreciate you more than not. Always make sure that you apply any gifts, rewards, or other gestures of goodwill equally to all tenants so that you cannot be accused of discrimination.
What It Means To Be A Good Landlord
Hopefully you’ve gleaned some great landlord tips and tricks from this article, which was meant to improve your knowledge and eliminate problems. Whether you are doing apartment rentals or leasing a home to someone, the philosophy is the same: a landlord job’s is to provide quality housing in return for payment from a quality tenant. Since the property is owned by you (the landlord) you are allowed to set whatever rules you like for utilizing the property as long as they don’t violate federal/local laws.
While it may seem appealing to be “the cool landlord” that allows anything to happen on their properties, remember that in many cases you can be responsible for other people’s behavior. If you allow crimes to occur, people or animals to be abused, or other laws to be broken you can become an accessory to the crimes themselves. In many areas of the country, you may even be charged for separate crimes for allowing such activity to occur (since it is assumed you should know what it going on in your properties). Rental properties cannot be lawless places where anything goes, even if they are privately owned.
You must set rules for how your tenants interact with your property and are fair about why those rules are set. Some landlords have a “no pets” rule, which can be off-putting to some people and seem unfair. While it may make you feel guilty to not allow pets in your properties, it is simply a business decision, not something against cats and dogs. Having animals in your properties will inevitably increase the property maintenance costs (scratches, fur, poop) and these will have to be dealt with in some way. Unless your tenants enjoy paying for cleaning or occasional rental increases, this is simply the way it must be.
Perhaps the least discussed of the landlord tips and tricks is that as a landlord you have a very special role in society. Since there is essentially no free housing in developed countries, you are providing a service and good that is just as important as food, gasoline, or electricity. Without housing, people cannot live and participate in civilization as they do. With your special role, it is up to you to manage to do proper business while also providing people a place to flourish in their independent freedom. The fate of people’s lives does not rest on your hands, but you certainly can do much to improve their situation by providing quality housing.