6 Tips for Being a Better Landlord
Published on: Tuesday, December 8th, 2015
Whether you’re a first-time landlord or an old pro, there’s always room to get better. Improving your skills can increase occupancy rates, make for more consistent revenues, and lead to a less stressed life for you and your business. For some helpful tips on how to up your game, read on.
1. Be More Personable
Landlords all hope to be busy, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be personable. When tenants stop by with their rent payments, ask about their families or jobs. Inquire about hobbies, too. It’s little inquiries like these that can make your tenants feel more appreciated. Be professional, but friendly.
2. Include More Detail In Rental Contracts
If excessive noise is against the rules, note that in the lease – and be detailed. No loud music after 9 p.m., for example. Don’t leave anything open to interpretation. If home improvements are restricted, list that as well. Renters may be allowed to repaint their rooms, for example, but not re-carpet their floors. And, if installing a new ceiling fan is prohibited, your tenants are going to appreciate knowing that so they don’t waste money buying one.
3. Price Your Rentals Appropriately
Do some market research and see what other rentals in the area are going for, and be sure your properties are priced appropriately. Of course, you want to improve your profits as much as possible. But, if you overprice properties and folks move in only to eventually find they’re paying hundreds of dollars more than they could have been, you can harm your reputation. Keep your bottom line in mind, but always stay reasonable.
4. Vet Prospective Tenants
Good tenants can go a long way toward creating a good landlord. Always do criminal background checks, get thorough credit reports, and contact every personal and professional reference. Renting to folks with sketchy histories can lead to trouble further on down the road.
5. Maintain Your Property
Make sure you’re addressing the concerns of your renters, whether it’s a leaky faucet or a faulty AC system. Nothing can damage a landlord-tenant relationship more than ignoring your tenants’ problems. Ramping up your repair department protocols can help a great deal. You’re much more likely to have minimal tenant problems when your property is a place they enjoy coming home to.
6. Seek Out Professional Advice
No matter how long you’ve been a landlord, there’s nothing wrong with asking for advice. Professional property management companies provide a wealth of knowledge around legal issues, tenant relations, even evictions. Check out the directory All Property Management to find a local property management company and any of a number of legal blogs targeting landlords. You can also join a professional association in your city or state.
If you’ve got property managers on staff, they serve as conduits to your tenants – so choose them with care. Vet your hires just as much as you do your tenants. Any candidates should have previous experience managing properties, solid accounting and organizational skills, and be trustworthy and reliable. You can do everything in the world to improve your personal landlord skills, but if your direct managers aren’t qualified, all your efforts could be lost.
What other ways do you know of to be a better landlord?
Dale Terry is based in Georgia and writes about credit and debt, personal finance, managing rental properties, and growing long-term investments.
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