9 Pieces of Advice to New Landlords
Are you a new landlord trying to find your way? Many mistakes made by landlords can be difficult – and costly - to learn the hard way. Sometimes a little bit of friendly advice can save you a world of hassle in the future.
If you are ready to listen, we’ve put together a list of 9 pieces of advice that all new landlords should learn.
1. Being a landlord is a business, not a hobby.
The more relaxed you are with being a landlord, the more struggles you will encounter. Treat it as a business by organizing and maintaining documents, treating your rentals as a priority, and making sure that you keep your licenses and certifications up to date.
2. Always, always do a full tenant screening.
The depth of your tenant screening will determine how successful your rental may go. Would you just turn the keys to your property over to anyone? Do a thorough screening to ensure that your applicant meets all your requirements.
3. Be able to collect rent payments online.
Collecting rent payments online will save you a lot of time and frustration. You will not have to wait for rent payments by mail and you won’t have to drive to your properties to collect the rent payment.
4. Do not rent to your own friends and family.
When you rent to friends and family, you automatically seem to remove the “business” factor in being a landlord. If you want to be taken seriously and you want your investment to be taken seriously, make it a point to not rent to those you know.
5. Document your property’s condition.
Be very diligent about documenting your property’s condition. When doing the initial walk-through and the move-out, the differences you find will be a he said she said situation unless it is carefully documented.
6. Build a network.
Get to know people. Build a network of other investors, legal counsel, repair technicians, landscaping crews, etc. All these people can help you when you find yourself in need or in a bind. Offer referrals and be loyal. You will soon form bonds and relationships with those that will help your business.
7. Do what you can to keep good tenants when you find them.
Good tenants are hard to find at times. Do what you can to keep those you have once you have them. Offer incentives, longer leases, or just be a good landlord.
8. Know the laws.
Not knowing the laws that affect your business can land you in some hot water if you aren’t careful. Familiarize yourself with them as soon as possible.
9. Require renter’s insurance.
Renter’s insurance covers the renter’s belongings and personals inside the rental property should damage occur. However, should this damage be caused by the tenant, say a flood or fire, the renter's insurance just may be your ticket to getting a claim paid if your insurance doesn’t cover it.
Well, there you have it. Avoid making mistakes that can make your landlord experience a successful one. Good luck!
Marina Shlomov, a managing partner at ALH|Podland Realty & Rental Homes Property Management is the author of many articles on Landlording, Property Management, and Real Estate Investing. A residential builder in the state of Georgia since 1999, Marina is an investor herself. Her property management company is intended “For Investors” and “By Investors” for a simple reason – she knows what investors’ goals are and she works hard to reach their goals. In her spare time, Marina likes to spend time with her family, friends, garden, read and travel. Check her out at www.alhpodland.com. You can find Marina’s articles and comments at @rentalhomesatl on Twitter, on Facebook, Google+, Blogger. and YouTube,Bigger Pockets and REI Club and LinkedIn.