Owning rental properties can be a great way to make money. If you do it right, that is. It is a good description of being your boss while money trickles in every month. But if you don’t know how to manage them properly, the result could be a disaster for your finances and your tenants’ homes! In this article, we’re going to share six tips for how you can take care of your rental properties, so they will continue to provide a comfortable living space for generations of renters after you’re gone.
Hire a Property Manager
By far the most important thing you should do to keep your properties managed properly is to hire a property manager. Property managers are experts in managing homes and maximizing rental income, so they know how to treat tenants right. They can also help you choose good renters, screen them up front, collect rent every month, handle repairs quickly and effectively for an affordable cost.
Property managers are generally only affordable for large-scale investors, but that doesn’t mean you should skimp on taking care of your properties! You could pay a small fee to an individual property manager or use an online service if money is tight. Or you could just be sure to spend extra time overseeing the process, depending on the size of your holdings.
Get a Rental Software
If you choose to manage more than one of your rental properties yourself, or even if you have a property manager, using a good rental software program is essential. The best vacation rental software can help you with everything from tenant screening to rent collection and maintenance. If you use the same company for all your software needs, it will be easy to switch between them for your different properties. Make sure all the features you need are included but don’t worry too much about finding the absolute best program out there. It’s fine to go with something that isn’t perfect as long as it covers your needs.
Set Up a Rental Cost & Tenant Requirements System
Systems are a great way to make sure your rentals continue to run smoothly. Set up a system for how much you will charge in rent and the requirements tenants must meet in order to rent from you. Create a spreadsheet or an online document that outlines all of these things, then put it in a place where all of your managers can easily access it.
This helps not only because it sets and enforces fair standards for rentals, but also because it makes sure that every manager you hire starts off on the right foot. They will have a great guide to help them manage your properties—and if they don’t agree with what’s there, they can always come to you for approval before making changes.
Set Prices & Expectations
It’s important that you’ve set the prices for your rentals before you advertise them or put up a For Rent sign. You don’t want to have to raise the price after they’ve already been rented, so do your research and set them at the best price possible.
Be sure to also create an outline of what you expect from tenants. They should agree with this before they rent from you so that everyone is on the same page. Whether it’s that rent is due on certain days or that lawn care is the responsibility of the tenant, make sure everyone is on the same page from day one.
Screen Tenants as Thoroughly as Possible
As a landlord, you need to know that tenants are going to be good for your properties and not cause too many problems. It’s important to screen them as thoroughly as possible, so any issues can be dealt with upfront. In addition to running a standard credit check, there are a few other things you can do to try and get a feel for the person who will be living in your home:
- Ask them why they’re moving, Ask their references how long they’ve had the tenant (if any) Ask them what type of pet they have.
- These will give you a feel for whether or not they are being honest with you and if they have any bad financial habits that could cause major issues.
Inspect the Property Before They Move In and Repair Problems Promptly
We’re all busy, and we forget things sometimes, but it’s important to remember to inspect your properties before new tenants move in. You don’t want them to move in and then realize there are a bunch of problems that need to be fixed. Inspect your property as thoroughly as possible, making sure you go through every space of it so nothing is missed. Take photos for reference with anything that needs to be fixed and keep track of all the repairs needed so you can follow up with the tenants later.
As soon as you realize that there are issues with your rental, start working on fixing them. Even small repairs can become big problems if they aren’t immediately tended to, so make sure you prioritize every issue and make it a top priority to fix.
Don’t let a problem drag out for months on end, though. You can set a timeline with tenants to get any issues resolved—give them a few weeks or a month at the most for bigger problems, and try to get smaller ones fixed as soon as possible.
Take Accounting Seriously
One of the most important parts of being a landlord is taking your business seriously. It’s not just about finding tenants and collecting rent—it’s also about keeping track of everything that has to do with the property you’re renting out. That means you should take accounting seriously, tracking every expense and income stream you have on your rental properties.
Accounting is an entire skill in itself, but if you don’t have the time or patience for that, there are a lot of programs out there that can help anyone manage their rental properties. You just need to find one suitable for what you’re going to use it for and type everything in as carefully as possible so nothing gets missed.
There’s a lot you need to keep track of when it comes to managing rental properties. These are just some simple tips that can help you manage your rental properties well. Of course, every circumstance is different—so rather than adhering to these steps exactly, be sure to take this article as a guide and mold it into what works best for your rentals.