Best Advice for New Landlords
A landlord looking to help a new landlord friend asked the following question – “I was hoping that some of you may help me in welcoming a new landlord into this crazy world, by sharing some of your best landlording advice.” Many landlords responded and here are ten of the top suggestions for new landlords:
1. Don’t fall in love with your house.
2. Don’t buy into resident drama. It’s a business.
3. Begin the eviction process early.
4. Screen, Screen, Screen! Always run a credit check and eviction report on applicants.
5. Do not rent to friends or family.
6. Keep properties clean, safe, and functional!
7. Read and know the Landlord-Tenant laws for your state.
8. Get around people – other landlords who are more successful than you.
9. Once a year, attend a Landlord Boot Camp and/or a Landlord Convention.
10. Read and learn from tips shared by rental owners nationwide at LandlordingAdvice.com. A wise man once said that it is better to learn from the mistakes of others, because you will run out of money before you make all the mistakes yourself.
Landlord’s Role in Neighborhood Development
Improving your neighborhood and increasing YOUR cash flow can start with little things. Keeping the front yard at your rental groomed is one step in neighborhood development, but you can be way more effective than just that.
Working beyond your rental’s property line is where the action is. Provide a little leadership and organize inexpensive neighbored activities. This is the fastest and cheapest way to increase demand for your rental property. Imagine spearheading or supporting an annual gathering in front of your rental. You don’t need to throw a National Night Out party as elaborate as what I do – but you do need to do something.
It doesn’t take a lot of money; but it does take a lot of heart! You’ll be amazed at how happy people are just to do a skip rope contest and toss water balloons with their neighbors. It gives them a fresh reason to connect.
Neighborhood development doesn’t have to be a fuzzy thing that only non-profits take on. Landlords can drive the process with freeze dances and relay races. When you think about it, in the form of higher rents and happier residents, landlords are paid for their community service. Imagine that!
Show it Occupied!
Here’s a common question asked on the MrLandlord Q&A Forum: “Do you wait until your rentals are vacant to show them to prospective residents?”
Below is how one successful landlord responded. “I like to work a deal with them, so this is what is said:
Dear Valued Current Resident:
I would like to offer you prorated rent for your final month plus a cash bonus for getting this place rented again before you move out. You down with that?
They usually are. This means I get to show the place on short notice. Sometimes the resident will volunteer to do the showing for me. You can bet they paint the rental in glowing terms – they are financially invested. This also allows me to make needed repairs while the current resident is still paying rent. Several times now I have rented the place to a new resident and turned it over to them in less than 24 hours from the time the old resident moves out. Win, Win, WIN!!!”
Meet The Dog!
If you are going to rent to dog owners, make sure to meet the dog as part of screening process. One landlord shared an example below of why he thinks meeting the dog is a step he will not avoid doing:
“A young lady had called wanting to see the place. She asks me if I’ll allow her puppy and I tell her to bring the dog so I can see him. She shows up today with her boyfriend and loves the apartment. She seems legit and comes across well, but my next step is to run criminal background and credit checks.
But before we get into that, she wants to go get her puppy so I can meet her. She tells me that she won’t get ‘much bigger’, she never barks, and that she’s placed in a cage while she’s at work. So I say, go ahead and bring the dog in so I can see him. A few minutes later the young lady is literally dragged into the apartment by what appears to be a full grown Pit Bull – and when I say dragged, that’s exactly what I mean. This “puppy” was going where ever it wanted to go with the owner struggling to control it while was she trying to explain that her “puppy” is a mixed breed – in other words, not a full blooded Pit Bull despite appearances.
She must have one heck of a challenge finding an apartment with that dog. I know people like Pits and see them as gentle and loving, but there’s a reason why insurance policies tend to exclude them.”
Never Take a Party Off the Lease, Unless…
NEVER take one party off the lease when they move out unless the existing party fully qualifies on their own to assume all obligations. Make sure that you’ve terminated the former lease, fixed damages, and accounted for the deposit.
Case Study: Last month, a gal moved out because she no longer wanted to be with her “roommate” who she had professed undying love for when they signed the lease eight months ago. Sigh. Young love is so fleeting. Anyway, she wanted to be taken off the lease and assured me Mr. Roommate would pay. Sorry, no can do. You’re on until you buy out or everyone moves out and we settle up.
Then, guess what? No rent from Mr. Roommate who contacted me and said his check got “delayed” but he’d pay Monday, which was yesterday. By the way, this is Excuse #12 from The Big Book of Deadbeats. (See Chapter 5: “Sure Fire Phrases to Dupe Your Landlord”.)
So I text them both – “Rent?” Guess who responds. You got it, the moved-out roommate. We’ll see where this goes, but they’ve got 48 hours to work out a plan that includes getting me paid or another “forever in love” shack-up couple will be served papers.
The above tips are shared by regular contributors to the popular MrLandlord.com Q&A forum, by real estate authors and by Jeffrey Taylor, [email protected]. To receive a free sample of Mr. Landlord newsletter, call 1-800-950-2250 or visit their informative Q&A Forum at LandlordingAdvice.com, where you can ask landlording questions and seek the advice of other rental owners 24 hours a day.