Learn How to Properly Manage Rental Properties in 5 Easy Steps
Learning how to properly manage rental properties takes study, practice, and trial an error. In the beginning there will be a lot of “error.” However, here is a quick and dirty list of things you need to have done to get started.
1) Get a good Lease. Do not use leases found with your local real estate office. The leases benefit the tenant more than the rental property owner. Instead, attend a local investor club and make friends with some successful landlords. Rather than copying some lease from the Internet, you need to find one that is designed by an experienced landlord who is familiar with the unique laws of your State.
2) Get a copy of the Landlord Tenant Laws for your State. You can simply “Google” this request and it should come right up. These laws should be read and reread until you have a firm understanding. Any questions should be written down and asked to an experienced landlord or property management company. You can get in huge trouble with a judge by violating the rights of your tenants even if you were completely ignorant. There are major fines and penalties a judge can slap on you if for instance you harass a tenant.
3) Find a Great Handyman. Once again, your growing network of friends from the investor club can help you in this important area. The key to profitability in rental properties, besides buying the property at a good price, is keeping the maintenance costs low. You will go broke by picking up the phone and calling companies out of the Yellow Pages. Typical plumbers, carpenters, painters, pest control, and AC repair people are normally 2 to 4 times more expensive than what a professional landlord pays.
Once you get enough properties and experience, you can advertise on Craig’s List and find really good trade’s people at great prices. However, in the beginning you will need to get referrals from other landlords. Typically, you are looking for a 1 or 2 person company that has low overhead and plenty of experience.
4) Set-up a Craig’s List account for advertising. Craig’s List kicks the crap out of newspaper advertising in terms of response and is obviously free. You can’t afford to throw away money on high cost classified advertisements in your local newspaper unless you live in a small town (small town newspapers or free newspapers still work).
When you write your first Craig’s List ad, you need to make sure you paint a picture of the property. Do not do what every other landlord seems to do on Craig’s List and throw up all the features. In other words, talk about the benefits of the home rather than its features. If the house has large oak trees, you might mention, “Very Large Trees in Yard which gives you a lot of shade on those hot summer days and saves you a bunch of money on your electric bill.” You see how this paints a picture rather than displaying a boring list of items found in the house.
5) Develop a list of common Tenant problems with solutions. You need to buy or check out some books on being a landlord from your library. You should be prepared for how to deal with a tenant that doesn’t pay the rent on time. What do you do when a resident sneaks in a large dog? How do you file for eviction in your area? The list goes on and on. Managing rental properties is a profession. You must study your craft, and the more you understand the basics the better your first year or two in the business will be for you.
Now these 5 tips will give you a good foundation to get started. Most Tampa property management beginners learn on the job, but it is still a very good idea to prepare before leaping into the mix.