Friday, June 22 2012
The constant fluctuations of the housing market can mean many things in terms of property investment, rental rates and the life of a landlord. We know, for instance, that there is a higher percentage of renters in the United States than there has been in quite sometime. But what we haven’t addressed is that there are also more landlords.
Whether you have found yourself in a property investment deal that didn’t go quite as planned or you’ve moved to another house while your old property has sat on the market for far too long, you yourself may have already become a landlord due to a lack of options. The life of a landlord can be financially rewarding, but it can also be complex and draining with many rules, laws and advice to wade through. In this article we want to distill a few of the more important tips that will lead to a better life for both you and your tenants.
1. Have a Knowledgeable Attorney on Speed Dial
And we don’t mean your friend from high school who now works in criminal law or your neighbor who used to be a paralegal. You should find an attorney who specializes and is intimately familiar with landlord/tenant law and the evictions process. No one wants to think about evictions when you don’t even have a tenant yet, but the fact is that at some point you will have to deal with the process. If you develop a good relationship with an attorney sooner rather than later, it can save you a lot of headache and maybe a few bucks in the future. A good attorney can also help you by reviewing your lease agreement to make sure there aren’t any glaring errors or problems.
2. Consider Professional Property Management
It may seem like an expensive prospect, but the fact is that unless you live next door and can dedicate a significant amount of your time to dealing with your tenants, you will be much better off having the property managed professionally. A trusted manager can fix problems as they arise, collect rents and develop a professional relationship with your tenants so that you can go on living your life without the constant threat of a phone call with an emergency plumbing situation.
3. Set Expectations Right Away
Most landlords agree it’s important to set your expectations up front and not back down, even if it makes you uncomfortable at first. As a landlord, it is important to remember that while you may respect and even like your tenants, you are NOT friends with them. Insist that they pay their rent in full, on time, from the very beginning. This makes it less likely that they will offer up excuses in the future. You’ve become a landlord to recoup an investment, one way or another, and you won’t be able to do that unless you actually collect rent.
4. Find a Good Tenant Application
Having an application system in place before you even put out a yard sign for your vacancy will make your rental process go more smoothly. We find that an online rental application is much simpler to use than a paper form. You can collect all the information you need – including references, driver’s license number, credit check approval and a new tenant’s contact information – and keep it safely in one place online for future reference. Even if you don’t choose to go online with the process, make sure you have an application ready as soon as tenants start calling.
5. Choose Tenants Wisely
If you’re desperate to start generating income from your property, you may want to place the first person who shows an interest, but that is not the best idea. Screen your tenants, run a credit check on your tenants, interview your tenants, call your tenants’ landlords. Make sure they are trustworthy people who are not likely to destroy your property and run off in the middle of the night without paying rent.
Of course, being a landlord is not as simple as five easy tips, but keeping these tips in mind as you venture into the world of landlord-hood should make your new role a little easier.
Friday, December 02 2011
The ultimate goal of investing in rental property is to turn a profit. To ensure that you achieve that goal it is essential that you follow several critical guidelines.
First, always make sure that you check tenant references. This can be a burdensome step and many landlords overlook it because they feel as though they have good instinct when they meet with the tenant. But not checking references can lead to a number of problems later on. You will uncover a wealth of information about potential problems before you rent to a prospective tenant.
Second, make sure you have everything in writing. This is to protect your rights as a landlord as well as the rights of your tenants. Everything from the code of conduct you expect your tenants to abide by while renting your property to the rental application itself must be in writing.
Third, you will find that you have better success with your rental property if you take the time to ensure that it is both secure and clean. The grounds of the property should be free of litter and trimmed regularly. Not only will the property be more visually appealing but these actions will also assist you with property liability. You will also want to take additional security measures. Extra security may be able to lower your insurance premiums as well as provide an incentive to quality tenants to rent your property when they know it is secure.
If you decide to hire a property manager, take the time to interview prospective candidates very carefully. Property managers can be very helpful if you don't have the time to manage the property yourself. This is especially true if your property is a long distance away from you. The wrong property manager can cause you problems with poor tenant screening and delayed lease up times. This means that you will need to hire a thoroughly responsible and professional individual to handle the job. Always ask for referrals.
Always make sure that you obtain adequate insurance. Not only should you have property insurance but you should also have liability insurance. One incident is all it takes to wipe out your investment. Also check with your state to determine if any additional insurance coverage is required.
Regardless of the condition the property was in when you purchased it, there will come a time when repairs are needed. This is part and parcel of owning rental property. If you take too long to make repairs, not only will your property suffer and repairs will ultimately cost more to take care of but you will also likely lose quality tenants as well. By making sure you handle repairs promptly you will be able to maintain the life of your property as well as retain good tenants.
Always make sure that you follow all applicable regulations in the renting of your investment property. The Fair Housing Administration Act provides precise regulations in order to prevent discrimination. If you violate those regulations you could find yourself facing a lawsuit that is costly in terms of time as well as money. The best course of action is to take the time to do your homework and consult an attorney experienced in real estate matters for guidance regarding the FHA as well as ensuring that you have the proper forms. Good property managers will already be versed in these regulations.
Finally, make sure that you do not violate the privacy of your tenants. Check with your state's regulations to find out whether you must provide any type of notice to your tenant before you enter the dwelling.
Following these guidelines will help you to retain good quality tenants and avoid any potential legal problems. After all, happy tenants make for happy landlords!
Wednesday, August 17 2011
Do you dream of owning property? Perhaps multiple investment properties from which to earn a monthly stream of income? Ah, the life…
But before you contact your real estate agent, consider what’s really involved. If you want to create an income immediately, you’ll need to rent your property. Though the proposition may sound simple, it is anything but. The information that follows details the downsides to property management.
It’s not meant to dissuade you from moving forward, but instead to show you that there are downsides as well as advantages to buying and managing rental property. Don’t let the potential to earn money cloud your vision when considering whether or not you’re cut out for it.
Read More Here: Issues With Becoming A Landlord
Monday, May 02 2011
Unfortunately the cases of meth labs are on the increase, and Evansville has its fair share of them. Meth labs are a nuisance to the community and law enforcement does all they can to stay on top of this situation. The article below shows how a community can work together to lessen the possibilities of individuals to start new meth labs. We commend law enforcement and landlords working together to overcome this problem. -RT
Fire fighters and police deal with the aftermath of meth lab explosions.
View video here: http://tristatehomepage.com/fulltext?nxd_id=264647
Saturday, May 29 2010
If you’re renting out your home, it might not be covered by homeowners insurance, so look into landlord insurance instead.
Maybe you’re moving up to a bigger home and holding on to your former residence as a rental property. Or maybe you’ve tried to sell your home without success. Whatever the reason, if you’re thinking about renting out your home, you need to look into landlord insurance.
Renting out your home raises risks
Homeowners insurance typically covers owner-occupied, single-family residences, says John W. Saunders, president of Slemp Brant Saunders, an independent insurance brokerage in Marion, Va. When your home doesn’t meet that definition because it’s being rented out regularly, it’s no longer covered.
Look into landlord insurance
When you decide to become a landlord, inform your insurer and ask about a specific landlord insurance policy, sometimes known as a dwelling fire policy or special perils policy. Coverage from a basic landlord policy isn’t quite as broad as a homeowners policy, says O’Brien, but it includes big risks like fire, wind, theft, and ice damage.
Other insurance policies to consider
Landlord insurance typically covers the house itself, other structures on the property such as sheds, the owner’s possessions (but not the tenant’s possessions), lost rental income if the house is damaged and uninhabitable, and some liability protection for the owner in case of injury or a lawsuit. Policies vary, however, so read the fine print. If lost rental income isn’t included, you might be able to add the coverage for an additional $50 a year, says Saunders.