As a first-time landlord, owning a rental property can quickly become an overwhelming experience. But, as with any business venture, the proper planning and resources are crucial. Fortunately, there are various tools available that help owners get their bearings, plot a course, and ensure success. So, join us below as we look at some of the most helpful landlord resources for Maryland property owners.
Top Landlord Resources for Rental Property Owners in Maryland
Owning and managing rental properties is much like any other business venture. Property owners must evaluate the health of their investment, control costs, handle administrative duties, and occasionally deal with a potential dispute. The resources below will help landlords cover the basic needs and questions surrounding a rental business.
Where to Turn for Rental Property Legal Questions?
As a rental owner in any location, compliance with local, state, and federal laws is critical. However, ordinances and regulations can be complex and ever-changing. In addition, should a dispute arise, pleading ignorance is not a suitable defense for landlords.
When it comes to drafting legal lease documents and setting up screening criteria to comply with Fair Housing Laws, we recommend reaching out to a qualified attorney. These essential documents and practices are what stand between owners and potentially devastating lawsuits or liability claims. So, it is always worth it to consult a professional on critical legal matters.
But where can owners turn for a quick legal reference? Luckily for owners, the worldwide web offers many landlord resources. While these sites do not take the place of solid legal advice, they do assist with common or straightforward questions. So, if you are looking for information to better determine your legal responsibilities as a landlord, check out the following sites.
- Nolo – Nolo.com is one of the most complete and accurate sources of legal information on the web. They have a page dedicated to landlord issues with links to dozens of helpful articles. Furthermore, this site offers the ability to search for common and specific questions.
- MD Attorney General – The Maryland Attorney General’s website contains a free booklet available for free online, or landlords can request a copy by mail. While the language is geared towards tenants, the booklet has plenty of helpful information for landlords about everything from application fees to lease issues.
- People’s Law Library – The People’s Law Library of Maryland covers a multitude of legal issues and advice, including helpful landlord resources. In addition to answering questions, property owners can search for a reputable lawyer to further assist in various legal matters.
Landlord Resources for Financial Matters
Money makes the world go around and for rental investors, maintaining a healthy profit margin is essential. However, figuring out what to charge for rent and how to calculate cash flow can overwhelm even experienced landlords. While trusting the advice of a licensed CPA is often best, sometimes a landlord needs answers right away. Some of the most common financial matters landlords face may include –
- Determining Investment Property Viability
- Establishing Business Banking and Escrow Accounts
- Setting Rental Rates to Maximize ROI
- Choosing Software to Automate Rent Collection and Late Fees
- Preparing Accounting Documents for Tax Time
Technology has helped the rental industry in many ways, including convenient online calculators for common financial concerns. Check out the following landlord resources –
- InvestFOURMore.com – This website is devoted to people looking to make passive income from real estate. It has several useful tools, including a Rental Cash Flow Calculator. Simply enter the amount of rent along with all of your expenses. Then, see how much cash flow is possible each month. Depending on an owner’s circumstances, it is easy to change variables to help make more informed financial decisions.
- Zillow – Zillow is a wealth of information such as helpful blogs, neighborhood statistics, and rent estimators. They also offer several rent calculators to help owners determine what their property may be worth based on local competition in the area.
- Landlord Gurus – Landlord Gurus also offers various advice, tips, and helpful insight into rental owner financial matters. Furthermore, they provide links to helpful calculators that compute – Net Operating Income (NOI), Capitalization Rate (Cap Rate), Gross Rent Multiplier (GRM), Cash-On-Cash (CoC) Return, Debt Service Coverage Ratio (DSCR), Operating Expense Ratio (OER), Return on Investment (ROI), and Internal Rate of Return (IRR).
Tips for Dealing with Tenant Issues
A great landlord-tenant relationship is pivotal to the success of any rental business. That said, even with top-notch screening and all precautions in place, issues and disputes can arise. When that occurs, how a landlord responds often determines the outcome. However, if landlords are unsure how to address a tenant’s concern or complaint, where can they turn?
If the issue is a legal one, the resources listed above and consulting with a lawyer are your best bet. But, if you are looking for advice on managing tenants, the web has several great landlord resources.
- Bigger Pockets – The Bigger Pockets Blog has hundreds of articles devoted to every landlord issue imaginable. For example, it has an excellent article for dealing with problem tenants. Owners can also search the site for other articles on dealing with everything from late rent to noisy parties.
- Bay Property Management Group – Our blog also has several posts full of helpful tips for dealing with tenant issues. Plus, new blogs are posted daily, covering a wide range of topics that affect landlords, investors, industry professionals, and tenants.
Often, local laws will affect how you deal with tenants. So, always review applicable local, state, or federal laws that may impact your next steps no matter the situation.
Managing Repairs, Emergencies, and Everyday Maintenance
One sure thing in the rental industry is that there will always be maintenance. Owners often have questions about everything from preventing emergency breakdowns to which upgrades have the highest ROI. Furthermore, understanding how to mitigate expenses through preventative maintenance is vital. That said, there are online communities where landlords can share their experiences and make recommendations. In addition, several sites offer expert advice and tips for handling rental repairs.
- Budgeting for maintenance expenses and being financially prepared for an emergency is a must for any landlord. That said, knowing how much to budget is often a source of stress for new landlords. There are several maintenance cost estimation formulas that landlords can use to help budget appropriately. However, this is a general rule, and property owners should also account for the age and starting condition of the property.
- Landlord.com has a specific forum dedicated to rental repair and renovation issues. Owners can ask questions and see what other landlords have done in similar situations. Thus, providing a great place to learn from both the positive and negative experiences of others.
- If you are looking for expert advice on managing rental repairs, check out Invest FOUR More for detailed blogs and articles on property maintenance.
- Landlordology offers help knowing how repairs and renovations can affect an owner’s taxes along with ways to maximize tax deductions without running afoul of the IRS.
Best Books for Landlords in the Rental Industry
For owners with a little more time, reading some of the books below written by top professionals in the industry is a great idea. These writers offer landlord resources based on years of first-hand experience in everything from investing to renovation and flipping for profit. So, check out some of our favorites below –
- What Every Real Estate Investor Needs to Know About Cash Flow, by Frank Gallinelli – This bestseller is a helpful guide for all things real estate! This book offers a unique perspective through case studies and real-life examples to help investors crunch numbers like a pro.
- Long-Distance Real Estate Investing, by David Greene – Not every location is ideal for rental investment. Therefore, this book teaches investors how to look at other places near or far and takes some of the guesswork out of managing from afar.
- The Book on Rental Property Investing, by Brandon Turner – Brandon Turner is a successful investor and shares practical advice for finding deals and building wealth through income properties.
- The Millionaire Real Estate Investor, by Gary Keller – This is hands down one of the best books on real estate investing. Gary Keller teaches prospective investors how to use patience to persevere by showing you what to do as well as what not to do.
When to Turn to the Professionals
Investing in rental property can be stressful without the proper foundation of knowledge and support in place. For landlords looking to generate passive income, one of the best options is to hire an experienced Maryland property management company. They have the knowledge, industry connections, and experience to handle the unique challenges that rental owners face.
At Bay Property Management Group, our team of experts step in to handle all daily operations of a rental portfolio while keeping owners up to date every step of the way. Furthermore, through a convenient cloud-based portal, owners can check in on their investment at any time and from anywhere.
With so many landlord resources available, there is no need for investors to ever feel alone. In addition to the resources above, Bay Property Management Group can help investors and owners get the most out of their rental property. Contact us today if you have questions about your rental investment or want more information on how full-service management can help grow your business.