Being a landlord can require juggling quite a few different factors, but it can be a very lucrative endeavor. Many landlords encounter difficulties because they forget to divide their attention properly between the three vital parts of successful landlord practice: the place, the tenants, and themselves.
The place you are renting is your product, so you need to present it right. Move-in and move-out inspections and standards are a must! If the value of your product deteriorates, it will become harder and harder to find takers. You can’t control the market, but you can set up a system that will keep up the quality of your rental space.
Know the value of the space. Begin by understanding what similarly-sized places nearby cost to rent, then you’ll have an idea of what you can expect to charge, and what you are competing against. What features nearby make your space a desirable place to live? What kind of neighborhood is it? The better you know the space, the more confidence your potential tenants will have in your price estimation.
Choose the best features to highlight in your advertisements. It could be the newly done bathrooms, the schools nearby, or the low rent! If possible, include photographs of those same features to include in your postings. However, don’t get so caught up in one or two great details that you forget to describe the place as a whole. They are looking for an apartment, not just a bathroom or a school. Any lease-targeting you do can and should be tied to the way you advertise to potential tenants. The better you know the space, the better you will be able to predict challenges and nip them in the bud.
Before you are ready to meet any tenants, you need to have your own system in place. You will be in a business relationship with your tenants. Hopefully it will be a friendly relationship, but it will be a business relationship nonetheless. Decide what sort of professional image you will hold yourself to in your landlord-tenant interactions. Effective, firm, and fair is a good way to go. By committing to professional standards, you will be able to help and respond to your tenants, keeping them happy, without letting them walk all over you. Remember this for your online profile as well--you will need a strong professional image online to attract quality tenants.
Decide beforehand your office hours/availability, which maintenance issues you will take on (most landlords will get the plumbing fixed for their tenants, but won’t pay for their lawn decorations), all of your lease conditions, what points are non-negotiable, and which are more flexible. Part of being professional is knowing the rules. Be familiar with the “Fair Housing Act” as well as any local, regional, or state housing laws. All the research may be tedious at first, but you will protect your business by getting off on the right legal foot.
Once you are committed to your standards as a landlord, for the maintenance of the property and your landlord-tenant interactions, you can avoid difficulties by making everything clear for new tenants from the start, what you expect from them and what they can expect from you, thus avoiding the charge back process and all kinds of drama. Your consistency will turn a difficult tenant into a great one.
Pre-screening is always a good idea. In your initial interactions, let them know about you and the deal, but learn what you can about them. If you find out they have small children you can point out the parks nearby. If they are vague about their previous housing arrangements or irresponsible in considering the lease, you can dodge the bullet, or at least be prepared for their time with you. What you want most is a good tenant, who will stay and pay you consistently for a long time. Good pre-screening, a positive business relationship, and even a little price negotiation can put you on the gravy train.
Information Provided By: Realty Times