If you own a rental property, you’re probably aware by now that being a landlord isn’t always as glamorous as it’s made out to be. This is especially true if you own multiple units, with multiple tenants, who have all sorts of needs. Whether it’s a flood at two in the morning, or a broken HVAC air conditioning unit during the dead of summer, maintenance issues can be difficult to attend to. Multiply that with tenant turnover, filling vacancies, scheduling showings, and soon you can find yourself severely overwhelmed.
Sure, you could always hire a property manager to take care of everything for you. However, doing so would just be paying someone for a job that can be easily done—stress-free—by yourself. Instead of dipping into your profit margins, use these tips to smoothly manage your rental properties without feeling like you’re in a world of chaos.
- Accurately Price the Property
One of the big stresses experienced by landlords is the costs incurred while units sit vacant. Each day a unit remains unfulfilled correlates to a loss of income. To avoid vacancy, it’s important to accurately price your property. If it’s priced too high, you can miss out on some quality tenants; too low, and you could be earning significantly less than your property is worth. Set your rental rate at a fair and reasonable price based on similar properties in the surrounding area.
- Decrease Tenant Turnover
Each time a tenant moves out, not only do you risk a vacant unit, but you also need to pay for a fresh coat of paint, new carpets, and the time it costs to find a new renter. To decrease turnover rates, be sure to screen all applicants before signing any lease. Their rental history may show they’ve moved between several places within a short period of time, their income statement may reveal inconsistent employment, and criminal background can shed light on questionable activity. You want tenants that are stress-free, not ones that will break their lease agreement or face potential eviction.
- Happy Tenants Make Happy Landlords
Once you find good, reliable tenants, do your best to make a positive impression. Leave them a welcome note upon move-in that expresses your excitement at their new tenancy, as well as any relevant information they may need such as: utility company contact information, cable services, combination codes, designated trash days, and perhaps even your best recommendations for local eateries. Leave them with your contact information and let them know they can contact you should a problem arise. They’ll be much more likely to respect you and respect your property.
- Make Life Easier
We live in a world dominated by technology, so why not make everyone’s life easier by using online services? If you collect rent online, tenants can schedule recurring automatic payments, which reduces your risk of late payments or need to wait for a check to come in the mail. It’s more convenient for you, since you won’t need to drive to any property to pick up rent payments from drop boxes, head to the bank to make a deposit, and then manually record the payment in your ledger. Payment problems are usually among top landlord concerns, but advanced software can streamline these steps so you don’t have to.
- Routine Maintenance and Inspections
Things are going to break; unfortunately there’s no way around it. If you don’t take care of your tenants, you’ll be in for a bad time. Have reliable vendors in your rolodex who you know will come through on those hot, AC-less summer days. To keep maintenance issues to a minimum, make sure everything is finely tuned before move-in day and routinely check in on the property. Once the property is leased, avoid acting like the crazy, micromanaging landlord and instead respect your tenant’s privacy. Consider sending them an occasional email once in a while to check in and touch base; it can show them that you’re dedicated to providing them with a quality living experience, and might do you some real good down the road.
If done correctly, owning and renting your own property can be incredibly rewarding and a fantastic way to earn income. Follow these tips to be the best and breeziest landlord to manage your property stress-free.