Essential Tips for First-Time Landlords

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Essential tips for first-time landlords

Contrary to common perception, being a landlord isn’t just sitting relaxed in some tropical beach while waiting for the rental payments to credit in your account. It requires dedication to serve your tenants well and make sure the property is in top shape. If you’re a first-time landlord, it pays to study the best practices of seasoned landlords. This way, you’ll evade significant mistakes that can lead to an unwanted lawsuit or massive loss.

As a first-time landlord, you’ll be dealing with people, budget and maintenance issues of your property. Focusing on developing the skills to improve relations and elevate the value of your rental property is then crucial. Below are some fundamental tips you can implement in your rental business to help it succeed. 

1. Make sure to use an online payment channel.

Most people prefer to transact online as it saves time and trips to banks. When you make it a breeze to pay for rent, tenants are then likely to pay on time. In fact, they can even enroll their accounts online, so it will auto deduct for more convenience. For the landlord, being able to check on payments right away makes the online payment channel advantageous.

have an online payment system for tenants

It also lessens tenants from making alibis when they fail to make the payment at the due date. The online payment channel is open every day, so they can pay anytime they wish. It’s also easier to track the exact day the renter paid. So, if they’re late, they can be subjected to late fees.

2. Have an organized recordkeeping system.

When you decide to engage in the rental business, you also make a commitment to organizing your recordkeeping. You’ll be dealing with maintenance expense receipts, utility bills and signed leasing documents. These are invaluable records, especially when you need to trace payments and present evidence in court. 

During the tax filing season, you’ll also need your records to be accurate in your bookkeeping reports. Missing an essential document will stress you out. Therefore, it’s better to be more organized for efficiency. Having a comprehensive system will help you streamline your recordkeeping process.

3. Create a well-structured lease.

A signed lease is binding in court, so if there are any conflicts, the lease can be a good reference point. This is a document that will spell out your conditions. It will pave the way for mutual understanding. 

It will answer questions such as: Is a tenant allowed to redecorate and repaint the property? Is he allowed to bring a pet inside the rental unit? How many renters are allowed to stay in the property? Is subletting allowed?

create a comprehensive lease agreement

The lease presents the stipulations, limits and duties of both the tenant and landlord. A well-structured lease will provide clarity and outline the governing policies of the rental space. It will also set expectations and provide useful information. This includes the tenant’s security deposit storage, acceptable conditions for breaking a lease and a timeline for regular property inspections.

4. Extend marketing activities online.

Since more people are spending time online and in the social media realm, it pays to market on the Internet. Market reach is broader and using multiple listing sites allows you to save time and money. You should also include professional photos in your listing to further attract potential renters. Best of all, you can quickly reply to inquiries and provide more information from the comfort of your desk. 

Another advantage of online marketing is the ability to conduct virtual tours. You can upload 3D videos, as they’re more dynamic compared to static photos. This has become trendier since people don’t have a lot of free time to travel and visit the rental property. They want to have a feel before making the trip and deciding to rent.

5. Be professional when conducting your landlord duties.

Regardless if you’re managing only a single tenant, you must exercise professionalism. Being a landlord requires you to cultivate a good relationship with your tenant, but respect must be observed. If you become too friendly, you might be hesitant to enforce your rules. It’s also good practice to present yourself well by dressing respectably so your tenant will show courtesy.

be communicative and respectful as a landlord

As a landlord, you must be knowledgeable of your responsibilities to keep your property in an excellent form. Check for security measures, safety protocols and adhere to a proper maintenance program.

If there are renters who report damages, be prompt in attending to the resolutions. Do you have spare keys? How will you handle a broken heater? You must be prepared for these kinds of scenarios.

6. Hire a good property manager.

First-time landlords can do a self-evaluation. Do you live far from the rental unit? Want to escape the hassle of self-managing? Do you have the time to juggle multiple tasks of property maintenance, rent collection, marketing and tenant screening? If not, then seeking the services of a professional property manager is advisable. 

An excellent property manager will be a great partner in making sure your tenants are happy. If they are, they’re likely to stay long-term and create steady returns for your business. You won’t need to worry about vacancies, and you’ll gain peace of mind in the process. Hiring one means spending extra, but the benefits will outweigh the cost. This is a worthwhile investment that will lead to more free time and consistent returns for you. 

Bottom Line

There are several responsibilities expected from landlords. It will require experience and a flexible learning attitude to become successful in this industry. With enough diligence, skill-building and quick learning aptitude, you’ll be able to manage your property smoothly. 

If you’re looking for a leading property manager that will prioritize your best interests, check out Premier Property Management Services. We have honed our skills and expertise over the years. We know how to handle every type of rental property situation. Premier Property Management Services also offers a free rental analysis, so don’t hesitate to call us at (724) 847-2728. You can also visit our website for more information.