Investment property owners can successfully manage their own rentals. If you’ve looked at the options and decided you have the time, patience and willingness to learn all the duties of a landlord, this advice from professional property managers may help you do it well. Here are four expert tips to make self-management a little easier.
- Be Proactive With Your Time
Make the time to periodically examine and inspect your investment properties. Don’t wait for reports of problems from your tenants. Routine visits will allow you to spot and take care of problems early – such as a slow leak or a tenant who isn’t caring for the property adequately – before they become bigger and more costly issues.
Regular communication with your tenants also gives them a chance to mention potential maintenance issues that they might not have thought to report otherwise, give you a heads up about a problematic upstairs neighbor, or bring up other issues that you may not see. Your presence and interest also sends the message that you care about the property and what happens to it and expect them to, as well. It also shows good tenants that you want them to have a good experience.
- Expect The Unexpected
No matter how proactive you are about screening, maintenance and other property management tasks, you can’t prevent or avoid every possible problem. So, it helps to prepare and plan for how you'll handle common situations such as damage to the property, a tenant eviction, or even criminal activity on the property.
- Educate Yourself
Before you draw up that first lease, take the time to learn as much as you can about the various aspects of the job. Books, legal websites such as Nolo, and legitimate landlord blogs can help you get information you need on accounting, due diligence and compliance with legal regulations, leasing, marketing, tenant retention, and property maintenance. Make sure you understand your local landlord-tenant laws, which are likely available on the local government website. These will cover important details, such as how much of a security deposit you can collect, permitted lease provisions and the process for evictions.
As you get into the groove of being a landlord, remember that laws change and practices evolve. Staying up to date about best practices and regulations will help ensure your continued success.
- Look For Ways To Save
If you are managing a small number of properties, you might not be eligible for volume discounts on property management-related services, such as plumbing repairs. However, you may be able to find savings by researching and signing up for loyalty programs with reliable contractors for services such as cleaning, maintenance, repairs, and landscaping. Regular preventive maintenance can also help you save by preventing costly problems down the line.
Being a landlord can be a rewarding and profitable venture. It just requires time, energy and preparation. If any of the obligations of the job end up being too time consuming or overwhelming, a professional property manager might be worth considering. And, it may be less expensive than you think, especially when you factor in the value of your time.