Last week I talked about five ways to turn your investment properties into a successful venture that will help drive revenue with stable and happy tenants. This week I have an additional five ways to accomplish this feat through proper planning, and establishing good habits that will encourage your tenants to be all that you would hope for.
- Stay a Step Ahead
Let’s not sugarcoat the perils of being a landlord – things break, and it is your job to fix them. How you handle these problems can make a world of difference with how successful your landlord career is. Before problems arise you should have a list saved somewhere with professionals you can call upon for common repairs. Issues requiring HVAC or plumbing repairs are bound to at some point, and every hour they go untreated feels like an eternity when you have to live with it. These problems can also get pricey, but may not always require an insurance claim. Be sure to have some type of account dedicated to the property to alleviate stress on your end when unfortunate surprises occur.
It is also beneficial to everyone if you establish the protocol for repairs with your tenants early on. Unless your tenant is a licensed and bonded professional you don’t want the risk of them trying to fix something in your property. Reassure them from the start that you expect things to occasionally break, and you are prepared to take care of it for your renters.
- Show You Care About Safety (and check your property)
Establish early on that you like to do occasional security updates to the property just to be safe. These can be checking outdoor light bulbs, gate locks, potential landscaping hazards and replacing smoke detector batteries. It can be a good way to help protect your renters while having a non-invasive excuse to take a quick look at the property.
- Protect Major Appliances for Tenants
As the seasons change so do household habits which can affect the machinery that keeps the home livable. When temperatures drop the furnace kicks on, and over time the filter will clog until it eventually causes a bigger problem. In especially cold climates there may be concern over pipes that need to be treated in order not to freeze. During the summer months the sprinkler system may need to be adjusted to keep your curb appeal up as the heat index rises. These are all basic homeowner concerns that may not be at the forefront of your renter’s mind. Offering to take care of these types of maintenance will ensure your property retains good health, and offers an opportunity for a peek inside the house at any other quality concerns you may pick up on. Alternatively if you have a capable renter that you trust to perform the work then just offering to supply the necessary resources (such as an air filter) will add to your credibility as a landlord.
- Be Stern and Professional, but Remain Empathetic
To be a landlord is to be a small business owner. You may encounter some of the same issues any small business owner will which includes clients being late on their payments. This is frustrating especially if your property still has a mortgage you are responsible for each month. The key is how you handle these unfortunate situations with your tenants. If they demonstrate poor payment habits from within their first couple of months then it’s possible you found a red flag that didn’t show up during their tenant screening. You may have to leverage some form of penalty for habitually late payments that exceed what you may consider reasonable.
If, however, your renters are generally good about making payments and this changes suddenly, you should consider having a discussion with them. People have unexpected situations occur that can range from temporary to long-term. Hopefully what you have noticed is just a hiccup in their lifestyle, but providing an opportunity for your renters to explain may increase the priority of your payment amongst their other bills. The goal is to not jump to any conclusions, but still protect your asset and cash flow should undesirable actions need to take place.
- Don’t Get Complacent with Your Property
First and foremost you became a landlord as a way of creating income. Your property is an investment, and you should never lose sight of maintaining that investment. Keep yourself aware of industry trends through blogs and magazines that discuss what applicants and renters are interested in. They may offer valuable advice that can help keep renters in your property longer, or assist you in finding replacement tenants more quickly should your property become vacant. There are also home trends to consider that will keep your property value at its best. Some updates can be simple, such as incorporating USB faceplates throughout the electrical outlets in the house. Other upgrades, such as solar panels, can be more costly but grant you the opportunity to charge higher rents for the amenity.
Everything comes full circle in life and it is imperative that you check back yearly to see if any new laws will affect your business as a landlord. States are constantly adding and amending laws that could potentially create a headache for you if you remain unaware. Subscribe to the ApplyConnect blog and receive updates about changing legislation that can impact your business.