Many people are drawn to owning rental property because they see the potential income that it can generate. Others may get into the landlord game because they need to live somewhere other than their home for a while, but they aren't ready to give up owning the property. Regardless of which category you find yourself in, it is important that landlords remember that they are running a business, and it is important that they follow professional procedures in order to limit the possibility of altercations, keep their landlord tenant relationships strong, and render a profit from the transaction. Here are some ways to accomplish this.
Develop A Strong Organizational System
Staying organized is the backbone of knowing what is going on in your own business, and it will help you approach various situations that arise with confidence. To accomplish this, many people choose to use a property management software system. Whether you work with a premade system or develop your own strong bookkeeping system, this will become vital if you ever face a dispute with a tenant or an audit.
Keep Up Your Knowledge
You don't necessarily need a real estate license to rent a property, however you should make a point to know as much as you can. This means reading up on the subject, and attending classes and seminars about real estate investing and related topics. You may even want to participate in online groups and forums that will help you stay current on the latest trends in the business.
Don't Forget Marketing
In order to catch the best fish, it's important to cast a wide net. Work with a professional realtor to help you get your listing just right, and publish it in a wide variety of places.
Know Who Your Tenants Are, From A Business Standpoint
Once you believe you have a prospective tenant, it is important that they be properly screened before they are allowed to move in to assure that they will be able to keep up with paying their rent and that they are unlikely to cause any trouble from a criminal standpoint or with their neighbors. You also want someone who will take care of the property.
When your tenant is chosen, have clearly written leases and tenant agreements so that is clear to the tenant what is expected of them, and that they are confident that you know what is expected of you. Be diligent about communication when it comes to rent collection and maintenance. Have firm policies in place, and don't be afraid to enforce them -- even if it means evicting a tenant. If you evict, it is better to do it as soon as it is in your power and you have just cause. You may feel sorry for a tenant in a special situation, but yielding to these situations in one instance, may lead to unclear expectations and even accusations of favoritism or discrimination against other tenants.
Work With Experts
No amount of schooling will get you to the point you know everything. Whether it is working with a plumber or electrician for repairs, or a landlord tenant attorney to help set up lease agreements and deal with disputes, having other people's knowledge behind you will be invaluable in making your role as a landlord as comfortable and enjoyable as possible.