When you own a property for the first time, it can be hard to learn and remember all the things you must do to keep it in tip-top shape. Renting out your property makes that job much more important. Even if you have someone do most of the day-to-day managing of the property for you, there are still many things you must consider and act on to keep your rental experience running smoothly.
Here are a few key issues with managing a rental property, and what you can do to overcome them.
Before Renting out your Property
Before you can even rent out the property, you need to first make sure the building and appliances are up to standard. Having a tenant move into a home with a leaky roof or a non-functioning fridge can lead to disaster and a bad reputation for your future dealings. Have a professional inspect the property and make necessary repairs or adjustments before listing the property as available to rent.
Tenant Screening and Rental Price
Once you’ve ensured everything is in good shape, consider the price of rent and a security deposit. Look at local rental prices to get an idea of what a good price is and compare that to your needs or desires to make a rental amount that you and your tenants can feel comfortable with.
Once you’ve decided on that, you can start screening interested tenants. Make a list of requirements you have for tenants beforehand – do they need to have a job, do they have pets (you can decide whether you want to allow pets), how long would they plan to stay? Get as accurate a history as you can from your tenant to ensure no surprises later.
Writing and More Writing
Communicating with your tenant can be difficult. Sometimes one or the other of you may be busy, or just not have the desire to get into a lengthy discussion of the property. Make sure before the tenant moves in to have a clear contract written and signed by both of you.
This encompasses things like the rules of your rental unit, how and when you can contact the tenant and vice versa, obligations on either of your parts for damages and repairs to the property, and the requirements for moving out or eviction.
Without a contract, the deal you have with your tenant can fall apart. Make sure to get everything that you can in writing!
Behind the Scenes
Now that you have a tenant moved in and paying rent, the work is over! …Right?
Unfortunately not. Now you must sit back and take care of your own finances behind the scenes to keep things running smoothly on your property. You have to find the time, and money, for repairs and unexpected expenses, such as pest control visits. Keep an eye on the rental market in the area to ensure that your rent charge is not so high that you lose your tenant but not so low you lose money.
You also need to deal with or disprove any problems that your tenant complains of in a timely manner. And while you do all this, keep an eye out for more potential tenants if you have multiple properties or your current tenant has expressed a desire to move soon.
This is likely the busiest time for you as a property manager but keep your chin up! This is what renting is all about!
Bumps in the Home Stretch
The endgame, of course, is to find one or more long-term tenants that have few problems, or at least, ones that are easy to deal with, and who pay their rent on time, every time. This is not always the case. Even after screening tenants and writing contracts, people can fall on hard times or sneak past your keen eye to rent.
Be ready to deal with issues like late rent payments, pets or people in the apartment you didn’t authorize, or even tenants leaving you with a trashed home and no forwarding address.
Sometimes you can get what is due to you through continued contact with the former tenant or by taking them to court, but sometimes you need to know when to cut your losses.
And there you have some common issues that you can run across in the process of managing a rental property! Happy renting!