Managing your own rental properties can be a full-time job in itself. While do-it-yourself property management can be difficult, you can cut out the expense of paying a professional team if you know what to do and how to be an efficient landlord. It takes the right type of personality and a little experience to be a good landlord. You need to know how to deal with tenants, the housing laws, and how to save money on expensive maintenance costs as well. If you invest your time into learning how to manage your properties, you will be rewarded. Read on for a straightforward guide to do-it-yourself property management.
1. Do You Have the Right Personality?
When you are a landlord, you need to know how to separate emotions and keep everything business. If you really like your tenants, it could be very difficult to have eviction documents drafted and served. If you are attached to your property, you need to learn how to keep your emotions under control when you find serious damage at the move-out inspection. Be sure that you can be professional, unemotional, and still approachable. There is a fine line between being a fair landlord and being the tenant’s friend.
2. Are You Prepared to Deal with the Legalities?
A lease protects both you and your tenants. There are housing laws that landlords must abide by to prevent being fined. If you are not familiar with housing legislation in your area, it is time to familiarize yourself before you make costly mistakes. Something that seems like a small dispute on lease conditions can turn into a major headache and cost you a small fortune. Investing your time and learning about legislation will help you take the appropriate steps in every situation.
3. Do You Know What it Takes to Lease Your Property?
If you are prepared to deal with tenants and handle all of the legalities yourself, it is time to learn what it takes to fill your vacancies. Finding your first tenant can be a difficult feat if you do not know how and where to advertise, and in today’s modern world, online advertising is key to renting properties out quickly.
You want people to want to live in your property. You do not have to be a marketing manager just to develop a marketing plan that will help you be a success. Create detailed ads that can be posted online. Choose marketing channels that tenants prefer to use. If you are not sure how to structure your ad, look at other ads structured by property management teams. This is a great way to get the responses the professionals get without having to pay the premium price.
5. Make Yourself Available
When people call to inquire about your advertisements make sure you are available. If at all possible, use a second business phone. Stay professional, make sure you have the answers, and set up a time for the prospective tenants to view your property.
6. Screening Your Tenants
Not all rental applications are good. The last thing you want to do is rent to a tenant who is always late on their bills and has been evicted from their prior residence. It is very important to use tenant screening programs to verify that the person you are dealing with is responsible. If you do not invest in screening, it will cost you a lot more money down the line.
7. Inspections and Maintenance Will Keep Your Tenants Loyal
After you approve a tenant, you should perform an inspection with the tenant prior to move-in. At this time, the tenant can look for damage and you can keep the condition on the property on record for your own protection. If there are any issues, make sure to arrange repair quickly. This shows the tenant that you stay involved.
When your property needs urgent repairs, you as a landlord are required to resolve the issue quickly. Make sure that you are on-call at all times and deal with a maintenance company that you can trust to report to the property quickly. If you respond to issues and resolve them, your tenants are much more likely to pass on moving. For major repairs or making major changes to a property, consider refinancing or borrowing against another property.
As you can see, investing your time into learning the ins and outs of property management can be rewarding. You can keep your management costs lower, keep more rental income in your pocket, and look forward to your property earning value over time.
Mike, aka The Dividend Guy, authors The Dividend Guy Blog since 2010 and manages portfolios at Dividend Stocks Rock. He is a passionate investor.