Whether owner/manager or a professional property manager of a residential rental there are some aspects of good management that apply to every situation. In addition to these five principles, to be successful the landlord must also consider how the rental home is unique, its neighborhood and the sociological and economic factors of the community. See our next post for an additional five principles for a successful professional landlord.
1.Keep your property in top shape.
You should have some funds set aside for replacement and repair. If the home needs paint, paint it before showing for rent. If the air conditioner breaks fix it, etc. A well maintained home attracts the best residents.
2. Be respectful no matter what.
Some people are difficult and high maintenance. Keeping your cool and maintaining respect under fire is essential to the successful landlord. Landlord/Resident relations are full of landmines: late rents, negotiations over requests, maintenance issues. Remember a disrespected resident often does not respect your property. There are many techniques you can employ when dealing with difficult people. Some excellent resources for these techniques are Books on dealing with difficult people, YouTube videos, and The National Association for Community Mediation.
3. Keep your word on maintenance requests.
When you tell your resident it will be fixed on Friday, fix it on Friday. This involves work on the part of the landlord to identify a person, or multiple people who can deliver on fixing the problem right the first time and being organized and talented enough to stay on a schedule
4. Screen your residents well.
Your rental income is needed and it can be tempting to “take a chance” on a prospective resident. Remind yourself what happens if they move in and become a problem. By the time they are out you can eat up several months rent out of pocket. Review your procedures and background checks, etc. The worse potential renters are some of the best con artist. You are not the first landlord they duped.
5. Run it like a business
Good business principles can minimize headaches. Document everything. Use a move-in and a move-out report with pictures to accompany your reports. Have a handbook for the residents with your house rules, your policy on security deposits and other useful information such as utility phone numbers, etc. Include this information as part of your lease signing. Let them know up front that you enforce the provisions. Knowing what to expect, up front and understanding what they need to do to get 100% of their security deposit returned, is a breath of fresh air to residents.