Owning and renting properties is an excellent way to make a living. If you have the finances to be able to own and then rent a second home, you are guaranteeing yourself a monthly income – an amazing situation to find yourself in! All you need to do is manage the property and look after the tenants properly. Sounds easy enough!
However, sometimes the management of rental properties can become a lot of work and very tiring. From finding a tenant to making sure they pay on time or even looking after the property features, all can be a challenge. So, in this article, you will find some top-important advice on how to manage your rental properties. Whether you’re a new landlord or a future investor, read on for all the top tips.
To get started, let’s take a look at the way you put your property on the market. It can be quite tempting to do this yourself but agents and management companies are there for a reason. You can click here to visit an example of one of these companies, so you can see all the various services they offer. But, the first one to focus on is helping you find the right tenants for your property. They will be able to share your property online and hold digital viewings to help entice renters, but that’s only half of the story.
These kinds of companies can help you vet or screen any potential tenants. By doing this, they can help you make sure you get good tenants in your property, who aren’t going to run away, forget to pay, or treat your property poorly. In fact, using a property management company to help you find a tenant can reduce delinquency rates to 2% – yes, that low! So, the first piece of advice – and one that will be regularly referred back to – is the use of property management companies or agencies. They help you from day one!
So, asking for help from the start is a great way to go. Property managers will help you find the right renters and assure you of their responsibility. But, what else can they do for you throughout the process – and what else do you need to do?
Firstly, throughout the process of finding and selecting tenants, you have to start to ensure all the proper paperwork is being written and filed accurately. You’ll want to have a tenancy contract in place with your renters that defines how much rent they pay, how often, and what the consequences of non-payment are. You may also want to complete an inventory; a document that explains what is in the property and what condition it is in when you hand it over to your tenants.
All of these documents need to be legally sound and watertight to protect you if any nasty situations arise with tenants in the future. Many of the aforementioned property management companies will be able to provide you with legal advice or assistance. Alternatively, you can hire your own lawyer to help you draw up contracts and make sure they are fair.
Surprisingly, not all landlords collect security deposits, but most who have had issues in the past will advise it. Issues arise when tenants breach their contract by not paying rent or when they damage your property. In these cases, a pre-paid security deposit can help ensure that you don’t lose any money. Of course, if this situation does arise, it needs to be dealt with legally and properly. Again, legal assistance may be required in both the legal collecting and using of deposits.
One of the hardest things to gauge is whether your tenants want active communication with you. Some tenants want to mention every little thing or ask lots of questions. Others want to be left alone. You don’t want to act like an annoying or overbearing landlord.
One of the easiest ways to get around this is to make sure that a property management company is your first port of call for all your tenants. This way, renters have a dedicated number to contact if they have any issues. Then the company can reach out to you if anything requires your immediate attention. This works far better for both tenant and landlord.
On the communication front, you also want to help your renters feel looked after. Many property management companies will offer 24/7 on-call service. This means that if there’s a serious issue like a leak in your property in the middle of the night, the tenant can reach out to an emergency number and get help, without bothering you. Again, this helps preserve landlord-tenant relationships and makes the tenant feel protected and looked after in their home.
Unfortunately, one of the most common issues landlords face is the repair and maintenance of utilities in the home. No matter what condition you give your property to a tenant in, things do change. This is not always the tenants’ fault, it can just be simple wear and tear of household goods.
Things like washing machines, heating systems, air conditioning, and ovens all have a shelf life. Unfortunately, as the landlord, it is usually your responsibility to fix these things. This can be a real drag and expensive for a landlord.
However, if you use a management company, you will often get repairs, inspections, and maintenance included in their service – some will even be specialist maintenance companies like our friends at MMC. Once again, this means that tenants can reach out to the company about a broken dishwasher and it will be fixed immediately. You might not even need to hear about such a repair, as it will be covered as part of your service.
While many of these tasks can be managed as an individual managing one property, as your portfolio grows, you will need the help. Even a full-time landlord can’t be in three places at once every day! So, seek some help as your property empire builds, you won’t regret it.