Becoming a new landlord can seem like a daunting task, and indeed it is. To be successful, you need patience, planning, and impeccable attention to detail. But how else can you ensure a profitable investment experience? We have compiled some of the top tips from rental property management experts below to help get you started.
Top 20 Ideas for Successful Rental Property Management
- Rental property is a business: As a business owner, it’s crucial to prepare for emergencies. Have a solid plan for what will happen if you are away and be sure to set up an emergency maintenance fund for any unexpected expenses.
- Establish office hours for yourself: Being available is excellent, but failing to set limits will have your tenants reaching out at all hours. Set up some clear boundaries from the start.
- Lean on the professionals: Even if you have the experience, you will likely lack every skill needed to care for your investment property. Build a network of trusted vendors that can help with everything from plumbing to roof repair.
- Set up a Google Voice number: Giving tenants your personal number might not be the best idea. Instead, set up a Google Voice account, which will route calls to your cell phone, but display an alternate number.
- Keep all records: Documentation is essential to any business but essential in the rental industry. You never know when those documents will be needed for taxes or rent court. So, get everything in writing and set up a digital filing system.
- Protect yourself with insurance: Work with a qualified insurance provider to get an appropriate amount of landlord insurance and property liability coverage.
- Price right: Research the local market and see what has rented in the area recently. Then, compare features and amenities to set rates for your rental property properly.
- Layer your marketing: Millennials especially turn to online resources to search for apartment homes. Therefore, to get the best exposure, list across multiple sites, including Craigslist, Zillow, ShowMeTheRent, and don’t forget social media!
- Create an enforceable lease: A well-written contract lays out the terms and conditions for your tenants. Make sure yours is both thorough and airtight!
- Check with a lawyer: For your lease to be enforceable, it must be legal and beyond reproach. So, have a lawyer review your lease documents and provide any changes that may be needed to ensure you are covered.
- Strategic lease end dates: Try to have leases end at the times of the year, most likely to re-rent quickly. Knowing local rental demographics will help you determine the ideal lease end term.
- Establish screening guidelines: You will need a set of standard qualifications in which to evaluate prospective tenants. Typically, this includes a criminal background check, rental history verification, income requirements (3x the monthly rent), and creditworthiness. Whatever qualifications you choose, they must be the same for everyone.
- Steer clear of family: It might seem like a good idea to rent to someone you know, but it is not. Family and friends can use their relationship to take advantage, so do your self a favor and keep close relationships separate from your rental business.
- Understand Fair Housing laws: Fair Housing law protects tenants from discrimination, both real and implied. As a responsible landlord, you may not discriminate against a tenant for any of the protected class reasons such as race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, or familial status. To avoid any issues, be sure you are familiar with the requirements in your state.
- Adhere to a late policy: Your lease should clearly state late payment terms and consequences. Whatever those are, stick to them.
- Allow electronic rent payments: In the online age, paying rent online is incredibly convenient for both you and your tenants. Look into setting up an account with Cozy, RentRedi, or Square.
- Happy tenants are good tenants: If tenants are happy, they stay, and finding a new tenant is far more costly then working to keep your existing one. Therefore, fix maintenance issues promptly and treat your tenants with respect.
- Offer some perks: Consider rewarding your tenants for things like referrals or excellent payment history. Movie passes, gift cards, or dinner vouchers are an easy way to show your tenants you appreciate them.
- Perform detailed inspections: A complete outline of the property condition before and after move-in is critical. This allows you to determine what if any of the security deposit needs to be withheld for damages. To protect yourself, have the tenant sign off on any damage before the move in and take lots of pictures.
- Act as the landlord, not the owner: Don’t be afraid of tenant confrontation. While a situation may make them upset, do not make decisions out of convenience. Carefully consider your options and do what makes the most sense for your rental property management strategy.
Rental Property Management in Prince George’s County
Managing rental properties is a lot of work. However, if you establish processes and procedures from the start, it can be a profitable venture. Are you considering investing in a rental property or a current landlord overwhelmed with rental property management tasks? Reach out to the experts at Bay Property Management Group Prince George’s County today! Our experienced Prince George’s County property managers can handle everything from mundane daily calls to serious tenant emergencies. We offer full-service property management in and around Landover and throughout PG County.