Tips for New Landlords

terrah-holly-16329

Photo by: Terrah Holly

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.

If this article helped you comment below and share.

Is Your Debt getting In Your Way?

ron-manke-20667

Photo by: Ron Manke

As a young bright eyed 20 something fresh out of high school and straight into college I know nothing about money, credit or debt. I thought to myself I had a job so of course I could pay the bill on this new credit card. Two years later I had a few maxed-out credit cards and no money to pay the bill.  I graduated college, and I still knew nothing about money, credit or debt, and now I had school loans. But all my financial problems were about to end or so I thought. I had got this great new job making great new money. That “Great New” ended after about 18 months. At this point I had credit cards, student loans and a house. Thought that new job was going to last forever but it didn’t. There was a lot more jobs after that. And every time I was fired or quit there was debt waiting for me.

Let’s get back to the question at hand. Is your debt getting in your way? The answer is it depends on you. What do you think about this question? Think about your life and the experiences you have had with debt. Is it helping or hurting. My answer to that question is Yes, it’s in the way. Debt has been holding me back from my true potential ever since I was 18 and got my first credit card the summer before college. But I did not realize it at the time. Everyone I know still thinks that having a great credit score is the best thing on the planet. I believe that when must of them die they will die still owing someone. They would not have known that feeling of relaxing with NO care in the world.

I didn’t want to live like that anymore and at age 31 I started cutting the cord. I’m now on the road to Debtfreeville.  Debt can be the mountain in your way or the hill you climb for perfect credit. The choice is yours. I say don’t do debt. Wait be patient buy what you can afford and live with less stress. If I could go back to that 18-year-old me and say don’t do it live stress free I would. Is debt going to be your mountain or hill?.