Essential Tips for First-Time Landlords

Take On Your New Role as a Landlord with Confidence

July 6, 2020

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When you’re a new landlord, you experience a mixed bag of emotions of excitement and nervousness. Those are both normal feelings. Seeking out advice from seasoned landlords can make your new role much easier.

Being open to new information will help you in your quest to be a profitable landlord. Tenants stay for the long term when they get along well with the property owners. Here are ways to become better at what you do and succeed in the rental property industry:

#1: Treat your rental business seriously and handle it like a professional.

As a new landlord, you must cultivate an environment of professionalism. Communicate clearly with your tenants and adhere to the terms and conditions of your signed leasing agreement. If a tenant pays his rent late, collect the late fees only if stated in the policies.

If a tenant fails to pay his rent within the required period, send in the notices. When a tenant sees that you are implementing the terms and firmly enforcing them, they’re more likely to obey those conditions.

Being a professional landlord also means taking care of your property. Schedule regular inspections and prepare a checklist so you won’t forget the priorities. It also makes monitoring easier.

Attend to requests for repair from your tenants right away. It's vital in winning over a tenant by being responsive to their request. When you are prompt and resolve tenant issues immediately, they'll appreciate your concern and professionalism.

#2: Renovate only if it matters and makes a price difference.

Sometimes, as a new landlord, we can get carried away by over-decorating the interiors of the property. You can add details that won’t make much difference pricewise. For example, a new landlord can over-upgrade a bathroom by adding a luxurious bathtub, walk-in showers and multiple sinks.

Landlords make the mistake of over-renovating

Think before spending on expensive renovations. Keep your unit simple, especially if the rental property is located in a B or C class neighborhood.

Chances are, the properties in your area will be asking for similar rent prices. If you spend too much, you’ll be forced to ask a higher rent and that will defeat the purpose of attracting plenty of renters and choosing those of high-quality.

#3: Invest in property management software.

Even if it may feel like an additional cost, using advanced technology to collect rent is a step in the right direction. An online rent payment system saves everyone time. You don’t have to go to the bank frequently, track lost checks or deal with insufficiently funded checks.

Rent collection software makes it more convenient to check if a tenant has transferred his monthly rent payment. It also makes it easier for tenants to schedule their payments through the bank’s automatic transfer option. They won’t miss rent payments and will be able to pay late fees.

Good management software is beneficial in a lot of other ways too. It makes it easier to market a vacant unit by linking to multiple online property sites quickly.

You’re also able to keep the communication channel open with your tenants and prospective tenants. It offers an efficient method for them to submit their property repair requests, so you can see right away what your tenants need to be resolved.

#4: Practice effective property marketing.

Marketing can be costly in terms of time, financial resources and effort, so you need to carefully evaluate your strategies. Are you marketing to the right demographics? Are you taking advantage of useful online marketing and linking to popular property marketing sites?

Remember that each day your unit remains vacant is another day spent in maintenance expenses. Therefore, learn effective marketing techniques and don’t simply rely on traditional methods, such as yard signs or newspaper ads.

There are more progressive marketing techniques besides newspaper ads

You can include those if your target market reads the newspaper, but don’t discount other options as well. It saves you time and can reach a wider pool of prospective tenants.

Video property marketing tours are also popular, in addition to providing property photos. Some people want to check the place virtually before scheduling a physical visit to the actual rental unit.

#5: Be knowledgeable in the Fair Housing Laws.

There are landlord-tenant laws you’re expected to follow and among these is the Fair Housing Law. This law pertains to refraining from discrimination, whether one is a buyer, seller, lender or renter. There are classes protected by this law and you should be aware of them to avoid being penalized.

The protected classes are the following:

  • People with Disability
  • People of Color
  • National Origin
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • Race
  • Familial Status (ex. having children under 18, pregnant women)

In some states, they have added more protected classes to the list. It’s best to know beforehand to remain compliant and avoid dealing with complaints from applicants.

Be mindful of respecting the Fair Housing Act when marketing your property. Check the words you use when creating a property advertising copy. When screening potential renters, be sensitive and check that your questions do not discriminate against the protected classes.

Ask for the same documents from every applicant to avoid any complaints of discrimination. Also, be reminded that the HUD (Department of Housing and Urban Development) regularly conducts inspections, so treat everyone fairly.

Bottom Line

There are plenty of learning opportunities along the way related to putting up a successful rental property. By constantly reading, consulting with seasoned landlords and applying useful tips, you’ll soon be making a solid income by keeping your tenants happy and keeping your cash flow intact.

Innovative Property Solutions

8833 Perimeter Park Blvd Suite 301, Jacksonville, FL 32216

(904) 321-9020

Office hours:

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