Landlord Tips And Tricks
I told you a few landlord tips and tricks in my article on Rental Contracts and Paperwork. Here are a few more to that are sure to come in handy.
Landlord Tips And Tricks For Renting A Property
First of all, your property must be clean. I didn’t think this needed to be said, but after hearing prospective tenants ooh and ahh over how clean my properties were, I realized that just having a clean property gave me an edge of at least half of my competition.
I keep my wall colors neutral but not stark white. Stark white walls are too cold and institutional. I have found a neutral off-white or light beige is enough color to make people see the property more as a home than a rental unit.
When you are showing a property, open the shades and turn on the lights. The majority of people like places that are light and airy. The people who want to live in dark, windowless places are probably not your best tenant candidates.
Vacancies will kill your cash flow. Keep your rental prices twenty-five or fifty dollars lower than your competition. You want to rent your property fast. It can take you up to a year to make up for the money lost with just one month of vacancy.
Landlord Tips And Tricks For Eliminating Management
Let the bank collect your rents. Each of your properties should have a rental rate all its own. For example, if you have three units that rent in the $950 range, you might price one at $949.50, one at $948.00, one at $950. When the rent is due, have your tenant deposit their rent directly into an account for that purpose. You can check your rental account on line at the first of the month and quickly be able to tell who has paid and who hasn’t. In addition, the bank will give your tenant a deposit receipt, eliminating the need for you to make out any receipts.
Have a clause in your rental agreement that the tenant is responsible for small repairs up to $75 or so. You may offer a rent discount of $25 or $50 per month (as long as the rent is paid on time) to justify that clause. If a repair is over that amount, you will pay for it. This eliminates being called out for minor repairs such as having to unstop a toilet (it’s amazing how quickly someone can learn how to use a plunger if it’s going to cost them money). Any repairs that are necessary due to the behavior of the tenant or any of the tenant’s guests are totally on them.
No one wants to have to evict a tenant, but if you’re in the business for any length of time, you will probably have to go through the process. The first rule is “Don’t waste time.” Serve a three day notice as soon as you can. Also, make sure that you use the right form. Your local county courthouse has the information you need to ensure that the form itself is correct and that you serve notice correctly. It’s always cheaper to pay someone to leave than it is to evict them. Talk with the tenant. If you have to evict them, it’s going to cost you money and it will cost them money in the form of forfeiting their deposit. Offer them anywhere from a quarter to half their deposit back if they leave the property in good condition, broom-swept clean by a certain date. You can exchange cash for keys when they have packed up.
Speaking of keys, change the locks between each tenant. You can call in a locksmith or change out the cylinders yourself. This is a security issue for the new tenants, especially if you have just evicted the old tenant.
Landlord Tips And Tricks – Know Your Neighbors
Get to know the neighbors around your rental properties. Give them your card and let them know if there are any major problems with your property, you’d like to be called. It’s better to deal with an irate neighbor who is not happy with the shaggy lawn than it is to pay your city codes department a $300 lien because the tenant didn’t mow the lawn. You can also find out if there’s any trouble in paradise – loud arguments, job loss, teen-age kids hanging out when the parents are working. Keep a good neighbor policy going and you can stop any situations before they become major problems.
A Neighborly Bonus – if you like a certain neighborhood, neighbors can tell you when a property is going to come up for sale or tell you about a rental property that has been vacant for a while. People who live in the neighborhood can act as bird dogs and help you find more properties in the area.
As you gain experience as a landlord, you will learn some short cuts and come up with some great ideas on your own. Your local REIA is a great place to meet other landlords and share landlord tips and tricks.