The stresses that come along with becoming a landlord are plenty, but the rewards can be great. From financial investments to regulations, bad tenants to contract woes, there are a variety of things to worry about. Luckily, with enough foresight, you can avoid many of these stresses and make your time as a landlord the best experience it can be. I’ve compiled a list of helpful tips for any new landlord looking to navigate this challenging venture.
- Understand Your Responsibilities
Many romanticize the position of landlord as some sort of benevolent overseer that receives a hefty rent check every month, but this is not the case. It’s not a hobby, and in some cases it can feel like a full-time job. If you don’t use a property management company, you and you alone are in charge of seeing that any pressing needs are met. That means if the heater breaks in the dead of winter, you’ll have to hire someone or get over there yourself and fix it as quickly as possible. If you’re not prepared to be at the disposal of your tenants in a moment’s notice, you may want to consider hiring outside help in your endeavor.
- Financial Issues and Returns
You need to know that renting doesn’t turn an immediate profit; in fact, it’s more of an investment for the first few months and potentially even years. With perseverance, you will see a return on your investment, but you’ll definitely be funneling money into your properties in the meantime. Anything that breaks you’ll have to pay to have replaced immediately. You’ll also have to worry about insurance and utility costs raising as time goes on. If these requirements sound like they’ll be too much of a financial strain, you may need to reconsider your desire to become a landlord.
- A Knowledgeable Landlord is a Profitable Landlord
Understand the legal ramifications of what you’re getting into, and do the research to make sure you never find yourself in hot water. Study up on the regulations on local, state, and federal levels, and be prepared for any legal consequences that you may be vulnerable to. Every state has different specifications, and city and county rules can make the process even more stringent.
- The Rental Agreement
Crafting an airtight rental agreement is key to being a lucrative landlord. The right wording and insertions can make or break your relationship with your tenant, and legality issues should be at the top of your mind when creating your contract. Protect your assets and draft a contract with the help of legal counsel. You must decide whether you will work with a lease agreement or a rental agreement. Leases will bind you to a tenant for a certain amount of time, and a rental agreement is run on a monthly basis. Once you’ve settled on the type of agreement, make sure you include the standard rental provisions, including lease duration, your rent expectations, amenities, deposit and damages information, and your pet policies. Find some example rental or lease agreements for guidance, and make alterations specific to your property and requirements.
- The Importance of Screening
One of the biggest pitfalls of becoming a landlord is running the risk of renting to terrible tenants that can make your life miserable. Lower your chances of renting to a landlord’s nightmare by using a service like that offered at www.mysmartmove.com. This service will help you check their credit history, will let you know if they have any sort of criminal record you should be aware of, and indicate any previous evictions. Putting in the small investment and time at the offset can save you bundles of stress in the long run.
- The Biggest Question
One of the biggest questions you should be contemplating is whether or not you should hire a property manager. When it comes to tools for landlords, property management is at the top of the list. They can serve as one of the most valuable resources when renting out your space. They will serve as the intermediary between you and the tenant, handling all face to face interactions, including eviction issues. You will have to pay a pretty penny for their services—usually 10 percent of your rental income, or more—but the benefits can truly outweigh the costs.
If you’ve made the commitment to become a landlord, all of these facets should be understood and prepared for. Take your time to prepare your property, find the right tenant, and hire the necessary professionals before you begin this undertaking.