You might never have pictured yourself becoming a landlord. Skulking around properties, banging on doors when people are one second late on rent, and kicking tenants out if they bother you.
While Hollywood has largely given us a negative view of what it’s like to be a landlord, being a landlord can be a fulfilling and wonderful career for plenty of people. Of course you’ll have to be sure to pick up the rent checks on time, but that’s not all you’re going to be doing.
If you’ve ever considered a career in property ownership or management, we have a list of tips for you to check out before taking that big step.
Yes, yes, this is kind of an open-ended tip that’s not really a tip. Purchasing property for rental purposes is like making one big investment.
Before checking out a property, it’s important to think of your overall financial situation. There are plenty of different loan options out there, and which one you choose could affect your short and long-term situation.
Make sure you’re working with lenders and agents who could give you advice on properties you’re purchasing. If no one has owned a certain property for awhile, try to find out why. Research the renter market in that particular area. You don’t want to purchase a set of buildings or home if it’s unlikely people will move in.
Be Ready to Be Flexible
If you ask any current landlords, they may tell you that they don’t really have a particular day or particular schedule. Some, of course, may keep office hours while managing their property but that doesn’t mean they’ll always stick to them.
One day, you might have nothing going on except making progress on your crossword puzzles. The next day, you may be going around to so many places you completely forget to eat lunch.
You’re Going to Wear Many Hats
Collecting rent is the ultimate end goal of being a landlord, but you’re going to have to do so much more than knock on doors or check your mailbox at the beginning of each month.
When purchasing property, you might see that the place needs plenty of fixing up. While hiring a contractor would be an option, it’s much cheaper to take care of it yourself.
You might not be a lawyer, but it helps to know the basic housing laws and rights of the tenant and owner. A legal battle is a quick way to turn your daily life into a disaster.
When it comes to attracting tenants, you’re going to have to do a bit more than simply hammering down a “for rent” sign in the front yard. You’re going to have to learn to network and market your properties effectively.
Down the road, you may end up hiring someone to help you and while you might have been used to going it alone, working with someone by your side may take some adjusting.
Know When to Call a Professional
There will be times, however, where you’re going to have to lean on others to help you get the job done. Even though you could be an expert handyman, there are some jobs that are too big for just one person.
Having a lawyer or accountant review your rental contracts is a must for any landlord, as you don’t want anyone to take advantage of you or your terms.
Setting up a website is easier than ever now, but it may help to bring in someone professional to help give your website the perfect touch it may need.
Screen Your Tenants
Speaking of contacting a lawyer, one of the best small investments you can make is screening your tenants ahead of time. Many states charge a small fee for a background check, and that will allow you to see what kind of tenant you’re having come to your property.
Make sure you look at their credit history as well as their current job situation. While you might be tempted to be charitable and help out someone in need, more often than not the situation will deteriorate and you will be forced to remove them without the rent money to show for it.