Being a property manager really boils down to 5 main elements: finding tenants, screening, law, rent, and maintenance. If you have a strong understanding of these 5 categories then you are set up for real estate success.
Here’s a breakdown of each from Ali Safavi Real Estate.
Finding The Tenants
First of all, having the right tenant is crucial to a happy and successful renting experience. There are many ways to go out finding them: Craigslist, signage, real estate agent, Facebook, friends, etc. It’s always a good idea to let your friends know you’re looking for new tenants. Even if they aren’t interested, they may have friends who are. Having a personal connection with your tenants is a great way to ensure success.
Once you get the word out, it’s time to start showing the property and begin the screening process. Most important is that you understand the Fair Housing Laws. Just last month there was a story in the news about HUD going after a landlord for advertising that she did not want tenants with teenagers. That is a big no no.
Furthermore, make sure you do a thorough background and credit check. Also, take the time during the showing to chat a bit and try to get a sense of their personality. You may be connected with this person for a long time…it would be great if you didn’t hate them.
Knowing The Law
No one gets a “I didn’t know” pass. As I mentioned above, the government is very serious when it comes to discrimination, but it doesn’t stop there. Knowledge about evictions, rent control, and zoning, among others, is critical to making sure all your actions stay above board.
The backbone of every lease agreement: rent. Make sure you state the due date each month and if there is a late fee. Collecting online or through a check is both perfectly acceptable. If they are a good tenant and happen to be a day late once, there is no need to punish them. Repeat offenders should not be tolerated.
Keeping the investment property running smoothing is extremely important. The tenant’s job is to pay rent, your job is to keep the building in the same shape – or better – from when they moved in. Big renovations should be completed before anyone moves in. Even afterwards, it is up to you to fix problems that come up, which could include weekends or the middle of the night. It’s often part of the job that people hate the most. Whether it’s you or a handyman, the more you keep up with it on a regular basis, the less surprises you’ll have to deal with.