Property Management for Dummies

Landlords who manage their properties effectively can obtain a steady stream of revenue. The key is to be consistent and to make sure nothing gets forgotten.

Here are a few pointers to take the guesswork out of managing your real estate rental properties:

Find Good Tenants

Your first step is to ensure that your tenants are reliable. Screen diligently and call references. Be certain that the people you pick are only the most clean, trouble-free tenants you can find.

Know How to Show a House

Make sure that the property you show to prospective tenants is 100 percent clean before they get there.

  • Have all floors swept and mopped
  • Check that all appliances are empty and operational
  • Repaint damaged walls
  • Repair any broken doors, windows or locks before showing so that tenants feel secure

Be Careful How You Handle Security Deposits

Security deposits are a frequent point of contention between landlords and their tenants. Have your expectations for returning security deposits written out as detailed as possible. Take pictures of the property’s condition beforehand, and encourage tenants to do the same.

If you want to be certain that deposits will not become a sore spot, store them in an escrow account rather than in your bank account. This strategy helps promote trust.

Decide on Landscaping Duties

You can only ask so much of your residents. We suggest limiting their landscaping responsibilities to mowing the lawn and trimming back bushes. However, realize that a professional landscaper will be more reliable for keeping the yard looking presentable.

Find Quality Contractors in Advance

The day your tenants tell you their house is flooding is not the day to begin finding a capable plumber. Go out of your way before renting to track down the best plumbers, electricians, appliance repair technicians and general contractors you can find. Use personal recommendations and online reviews as your guide.

Establishing a relationship between you and your contractors is important for building confidence in your tenants. You can say “He/She does great work. They will be there quickly and have your problem solved in no time.”

Be Firm and Consistent About Rent

The old saying “you give them an inch, they take a mile” holds quite true with property management. Never yield on your rental agreement. Have established days that rent is due and late charges for non-payment.

State all of these factors explicitly in your lease agreement. When the tenant signs it, they will understand that there will be legal ramifications if they mess around.

You can provide your tenants with flexible options to ensure that they will never have excuses to not pay rent on time. For example, you can provide a stack of stamped, addressed envelopes or offer electronic deposits. Always follow through with penalties for “bounced” checks or electronic payments.

Have the Property Inspected Regularly and Keep Up with Repairs

Hire a professional property inspector every five to ten years. They will be able to spot problematic conditions that may have slipped past your gaze. You should make all the recommended repairs to keep latent problems from “snowballing” and becoming worse.

Remember that any major problems with the property could result in liability.

With enough diligence, anyone can manage their properties like a professional.