Smart rental investments can be a boon to anyone looking to generate passive income. However, if you’ve never been a landlord before, you may find yourself struggling in this new role. Although some property owners make it look next to impossible, being a good landlord isn’t nearly as difficult as you may think. Fledgling property owners who want to ensure that they’re successful in their new role can benefit from taking the following measures.
Brush Up on Fair Housing Laws
A strong familiarity with fair housing laws is an absolute must for every landlord. Failing to familiarize yourself with state and local housing laws can land you on the receiving end of a costly lawsuit and cause lasting damage to your professional reputation. If you don’t take the time to learn about the aforementioned laws, you may accidentally wind up discriminating against prospective tenants on unfair grounds. Fortunately, many of these laws are fairly easy to grasp and don’t leave a lot of room for ambiguity, so even if you’re not well-versed in legalese, none of this should prove particularly confusing.
Communicate with Your Tenants
Clear communication will serve you well in many areas of life – and rental property ownership is no exception. If tenants feel as if you’re difficult to reach or unsympathetic to their needs, many of them won’t hesitate to voice these frustrations on prominent renter feedback platforms. No one relishes renting from an uncommunicative, inattentive landlord, and if you develop a reputation for such behavior, you’re liable to see the number of rental applications you receive take a nosedive.
With this in mind, make a point of providing your tenants with a clear line of communication to you. Even if you don’t feel like giving out your personal phone number, make sure tenants have a number they can reach you at during normal business hours, as well as your work email. Responsiveness can go a long way when it comes to maintaining favorable relationships with tenants, so if you expect your renters to stick around for the long haul, take care to keep the lines of communication open.
Hire a Skilled Maintenance Staff
As the property owner, it is your responsibility to ensure that building maintenance is tended to. Whether it’s a problem with an individual unit or an issue that affects the entire property, you’ll need to make sure that it’s remedied in a timely and professional manner. This is where a skilled maintenance staff can come in handy. The right people will be able to identify and repair a wide range of issues that range from minor cosmetic damage to large-scale plumbing problems. On the flipside, hiring a maintenance staff that habitually does subpar work and never operates on schedule is guaranteed to draw the ire of tenants and generate negative feedback regarding your management abilities.
Keep a Robust Emergency Fund
Having a robust emergency fund will serve you well on the maintenance front. No matter how new or well-cared-for a property is, the occasional emergency is practically a given. For situations that are well outside the skillsets of your regular maintenance staff, you’ll need to bring in specialized pros – and this will generally require a fair amount of money. To help ensure that you’re able to comfortably afford such expenditures, take care to add to your emergency fund every month.
You can also receive invaluable advice regarding property maintenance and renovations by working with a knowledgeable real estate investment trust (REIT). If you’re currently asking yourself, “What is an REIT?,” don’t hesitate to reach out to a seasoned investment professional.
It’s easy to see why so many of us assume that being a landlord is the easiest job in the world. After all, from a tenant’s perspective, most landlords seemingly do nothing but sit back and collect rent. While it’s true that some landlords certainly match this description, the most successful ones put in a fair amount of work. This isn’t to say that owning rental properties is the hardest job in the world (far from it, in fact), but a lot more effort goes into maintaining these properties than a lot of people realize. To help ensure that your first foray into rental property ownership is a success, heed the tips discussed above.
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