5 Hints To Help You Be A Better Landlord
By Michael Barnes
December 5 2009
Are you a landlord? Do you want to be? Do you or are you planning on buying residential property to use as rentals?
Well if you answered yes to any of the above, this article is for you.
First let me start out with the cold hard truth, being a landlord does not mean just collecting a rent check once a month and spending the rest of your time on the golf course. Being a landlord can be frustrating and can take a lot of effort.
The other truth though, is that if done right, being a landlord can be fun and rewarding, both personally rewarding and financially rewarding.
The key is to know what you are doing and take your job seriously.
Here are 5 tips that I have picked up through the years dealing with my portfolio of rental properties.
1 - HAVE A WRITTEN LEASE
A written lease is CRITICAL; I can not stress this enough. A written lease protects you and your tenants and prevents potential misunderstandings from become nightmares. There are tons of places online where you can get sample leases for your state. Do not skimp or take a shortcut on this. It will only take one time for your lease to save you and it will have more than made the time you spent putting it together worthwhile.
2 - KNOW THE LAW
While it is always good to have a competent attorney available to you, it still does not eliminate the need for you to know the laws in your state regarding residential tenancies. Take the time and read and understand the laws as they pertain to you. Just as with the lease, all it takes is one time where your knowledge of the law kept you out of trouble, and your investment of time and research will pay off handsomely.
3 - BE FRIENDLY, FAIR & FIRM
One of the things that I have learned is a key part of my success is how I treat my customers (tenants). I have tenants from all walks of life, all economic situations, all races, colors, religious, you name it. One thing that they all will say is regardless of what may make them different, I treat everyone the same. This is not only because there are laws against certain types of discrimination, but because it builds a stronger relationship with my customer. Along those same lines though, I am also firm. I am clear from the beginning about how I handle late fees, and other expectations. I do not waiver from this.
4 - BE VISIBLE
This one can be hard if you are a part time landlord, or have properties spread out over a large area. I find it useful to be visible to my tenants and the neighbors of my properties. I make it a point whenever I am in a part of town where I have properties, I drive by them. If I see someone outside I stop and say hi, if I see a neighbor that I have spoken to before, I say hi to them. This helps in a number of ways; first, it lets your tenants know you care about the property. Being visible also helps to build relationships with neighbors, which can be a great set of eyes and ears to tip you off about any problems before they get out of control.
5 - NEVER FORGET YOU AND YOUR FAMILY COME FIRST
This is probably one of the hardest lessons a landlord must learn. First, ask yourself why did you or are you getting into the rental business? The answer is obvious, you want to make money. Money either for current use or to build a nest egg for later. As a landlord you will be presented with a variety of stories and excuses. Some of these will be true and others may not be. I have found it is easier to deal with the people telling you a story that is just an out and out lie. I have no trouble not showing any compassion and simply boiling it all down for them to a simple truth, "You do not pay, you do not stay". The stories that are true are actually the difficult ones. I can not tell you how to handle every situation, and each of us is different in our thoughts and beliefs. I can tell you this, as you evaluate how to handle the situation, never loose sight of the fact that the needs of you and your family HAVE TO COME FIRST.
Michael Barnes - <a target="_blank" ["rel=\"nofollow\" "]href="http://www.trailerparkriches.com">http://www.trailerparkriches.com</a> - <a target="_blank" ["rel=\"nofollow\" "]href="http://www.landlordtutor.com">http://www.landlordtutor.com</a>.