Deciding to finally jump into investing in a property for rental purposes can be a smart, reliable means of generating income in a comparatively easy way. However, that doesn’t mean that once you’ve secured a property and gotten it ready for tenants, you can just sit back, relax, and let the money roll in on a monthly basis. A good landlord puts in the work to ensure a reliable flow of rent money, and here are a few ways that you can do that.
Document the Property’s Condition
This is going to save you a lot of potential headaches if you ever get into a dispute with an incoming or outgoing tenant. Break out your camera or smartphone and start taking pictures of the property in question, noting its condition. Keep a close eye on walls and floors especially.
Do this before a new tenant moves in, when you’ve patched up holes in the walls from pictures nailed there, and after the tenant moves out. This way, if there are any dramatic changes, such as a hole in the ceiling that wasn’t there before, you have documented proof.
Reward Good Tenants
If you have a tenant that doesn’t cause trouble, pays on time, or even ahead of time, and makes for a pleasant experience as a renter, show your appreciation. Good tenants are hard to find, and if you have one, show a little bit of appreciation.
It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant, but occasional vouchers for dinner at a restaurant, or tickets to the movies are small ways to say “thanks for being so pleasant to have as a tenant.” Little things like this can strongly encourage a good tenant not just to stay that way, but maybe even live there longer.
Lay Out Rules Ahead Of Time
If there are some rules that you want renters to abide by, you can’t blame them for violating those rules if they don’t know about them. This means that if you do have a policy of not wanting a potential tenant to personalize their new home by nailing picture frames to the wall, be clear about this very early on.
The last thing you want to do is have a solid tenant-landlord relationship get muddled because time goes by without incident, only to have something like nails in the wall become an issue a few years later. This, and other policies, are things you are responsible for making clear at the outset.
Define the Lines of Communication
You may think of yourself as a friendly, casual person, but you are still running a business when you become a landlord. That means that if there are any official problems that you need to act on in your capacity as a landlord, make sure an official line of communication exists.
If you just give tenants your cellular phone number and leave it at that, you may get a call for broken plumbing at two in the morning. Instead, either provide an official phone number, or e-mail address that you can be reached at, and set out “office hours” for contact. You can be friendly with tenants, but they should not mistake you for a friend and casually reach out to you as such for tenant problems.
Renting out properties can be very lucrative and reliable compared to other types of business, but don’t mistake that for being “easy money.” Be a responsible landlord, and you’ll have a responsible business with the profits to match.
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