I rented out my home for over three years before I sold it. As a single woman who had been downsized from a career job renting was at that time was my best option. In the city of Nashville TN where home values have sky rocketed no one really wants to sale their home when you can get twice the mortgage in rent. In those 3+ years as a landlord I learned a few unexpected lessons.
Tip 1. Do backgrounds check:
People are not always how they say they are. Check not only criminal records but also current and past career. Speak with different past landlords to ensure you are not talking to their cousin, sister, or brother. To make sure you are speaking to the correct person ask a lot of detailed questions for example. What was the past address? What is they current rent? Why are they leaving? What is the landlord’s name? How long did they live there?
Tip 2. Change your lease:
With every new tenant is the opportunity to change you lease. You always learn something for your previous tenant. You can always add rules to your lease before you get a new tenant. Think about pets are they okay are not? Smoking, were you a smoker do you plan to move back in?? Do you want your home to smell like smoke if you move back in? What changes can your tenant make, and what are the consequences of they make changes without your promise.
Tip 3. Notice red flags:
There are always red flag moments when you know that a tenant is not a good fit. For example if a tenant says “I can traded fixes on your home for rent.” or “Of I’m late on my rent is there a fee?” both of the questions says to me that I don’t have your money, but I still want your home.
Tip 4. Be prepared:
Being a landlord can be easy, but if you don’t have a staff working for you then you should expect 2am calls and unexpected expenses. In my case I had to replace a roof, a hot water heater, and HVAC system. Doing simply quarterly maintenance like getting your HVAC systems cleaned or heat water heaters drained can help with reducing your midnight calls. Learn to some DIY projects that will save you money. Have a list of trusted repair people for the repairs you can’t make. If you are not able to find a people or company use referral sites like Angie’s list. Using sites like this gives you comfort that the professional your about to hire will do great work at a fair price.
Tip 5. Take your time:
When vetting your prospect I believe you should start slow. Start with one home or condo. Let one family be your learning curve in the beginning. It’s hard to manage a lot of families all at once in the beginning. Once you have some experience you can start renting out apartment complexes size properties.
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