1. Screen tenants thoroughly. A credit check is better than a gut check. Use www.rocketlease.com to screen candidates. Don’t be fooled by “I’m going to love your property as if it were my own home” claims. Proof is in the pudding.
2. Wait for a better tenant. Don’t sign a tenant out of desperation. You’ll pay in the end.
3. Have a solid rental contract. Here’s what we use for a contract. Customize it to meet your needs, but make sure it’s in line with your state’s landlord/tenant laws.
4. Don’t base your rent off your mortgage. Sometimes it can be significantly more, sometimes rent is less than your mortgage payment. You should not use them interchangeably. Also, the amount of rent you can receive depends on the time of year you rent it out. Do your research.
5. Automate monthly payments. Sign up for www.rentmatic.com (link coming soon for credit when you sign up). Super easy and affordable. Takes the guessing game out of when you’ll get rent this month.
6. Try to rent during peak seasons. October-January is the worst time to try and rent. Avoid if at all possible. Best time during summer. Second right after holidays.
7. Maintain your property. Wear, tear and problems are inevitable. Get a home warranty. We use First American Home Warranty. This takes care of most problems, for a fraction of the cost. Find a good, affordable handyman. Make repairs timely. Do not delay. This could come back and bite you one day.
8. You will have to wear many different hats. You will have to play realtor, contractor, debt collector, and in some cases, therapist. Be flexible, because this is not a 9-5 job. We’ve received several middle of the night calls.
9. Approach all communication as if you could potentially be in a lawsuit someday. Keep a record of all communication, such as email, and realize a handshake deal means nothing in the end. Be careful what you say or promise. Try to be professional, even if you are frustrated or angry. Because the most composed person is going to have the advantage.
10. Realize your limits. If this seems too much, consider hiring a professional management company. Maybe you don’t have the time or temperament. You may find it is not worth either the stress or the time to self manage. Do your research and hire a good company. There are still financial rewards in holding onto real estate, even if it temporarily eats up your profits.
**If you have interest in acquiring investment properties, or if you want to buy or sell real estate in a traditional setting, please contact me! I am a licensed realtor in Maine, have been licensed in Utah, but have great contacts all over the country and I can put you in contact with someone great today! Drop me a line with general info about what your looking for as well contact info to firstname.lastname@example.org.