In today’s economy, it has become more and more popular to rent out a home. Whether you are becoming a property manager for client’s investment properties or just cannot sell your own home at this time, we wanted to offer a few tips to make your rental a success.
1. Document, Document, Document – We all wish we could still do business with a handshake, but it is wiser to put your agreement into writing to protect all parties involved. You want to make sure the lease terms, the terms for late payments, the number of occupants, etc. are all outlined in a lease agreement. You can find boiler plate lease agreements online, or it might be worth paying an attorney to draft one specific to you and your needs.
2. Be firm with tenants – Landlords/property managers want to be friendly with their tenants. It builds the relationship, and tenants tend to take better care of the property. But the instant you are lienent with deposits, late fees, etc. you will find that many tenants start to take advantage of your graciousness which can lead to financial stress for yourself. When you first start a lease, make sure you go over the rent payment due date and the late fee procedures in great detail. Then, if and when the tenants are late, immediately begin charging the late fees and filing the appropriate paperwork. You don’t want to have tenant living rent free!
3. Be proactive – It is very wise to schedule quarterly or bi-annual walk-throughs of the property. Some tenants might not realize how crucial a small leak might be. You also want to make sure that tenants are keeping the property clean. This also allows you to make sure the number of occupants that are on the lease are also staying on the property. This can save you a lot of time and money if your tenants know you are proactive with maintenance.
4. Run background checks on tenants – This can be a small out-of-pocket cost each time you want to rent a property, or you can bake it into your application fee, but it can help you avoid some headaches going forward. Background checks will show you the potential tenants rental history, criminal history and credit history. Set up guidelines for yourself of who you will and will not rent to, and stick to them, no matter how touching their story might be.
5. Stay organized – Many landlords have found it useful to have an organizational system to keep their tenant, owner and property information all in one place. Again the organization will save you time and money in the long run helping to prevent small issues from slipping through the cracks.