Property management made simple

When you were a kid, you probably didn’t dream of becoming an Airbnb host or a landlord when you grew up. (For one thing, Airbnb probably wasn’t invented yet!)  

But if this is where you’re headed, know that it’s only the beginning of your passive income journey. Owning a property and renting it out isn’t the end. There’s a lot that comes with property management, and if you choose to handle it on your own, then it will likely overwhelm you at some point.

Here are the top four property management tips that’ll make your life easier:

1.      Hire a property manager

Seems like a no-brainer, right? One of the best decisions you can make as a landlord is to bring on a property manager. Hiring a trustworthy and experienced rental management company or individual will save you a lot of money and time.

Why? Because these folks take on the hands-on administrative work. They coordinate repairs, find new tenants for vacant units, carry out background checks on potential tenants, deal with renters’ complaints, and in some cases, even collect rent. (Though of course there are digital options for that.) If you don’t hire a property management company, those responsibilities fall on your shoulders.

Now, that’d be a little easier if you were available 24/7, but you’re busy. It’s impossible to be at the beck and call of tenants with the demands of work and family, and especially as your property portfolio grows with time. It’s why seasoned real estate investors delegate these responsibilities to a reliable property manager.

2.      Ensure preventative maintenance

Things break; it’s a fact of life. Who’ll be stuck holding the wrench? That’d be your property manager. It’s their job to resolve every maintenance problem, according to the lease terms.

(Does that fill you with glee? We understand.)

It means that if the lease terms clearly state that when plumbing or HVAC issues arise, it’ll be your responsibility to fix it—then you’d have to fix it—whether it’s a leaking kitchen sink, a busted boiler or a jammed faucet that needs replacing.

But preventive maintenance is much more than that. When you first buy a rental property, you should really get to know the systems that comprise it. Each system has a specific lifespan and service interval. Failure of any of these systems is the last thing you need when renting out to tenants.

Therefore, conducting a preventative maintenance check is absolutely necessary to rectify any lingering issues with the property. And your property manager? They’re the person who can make that happen.

3.      Prepare a solid lease

This document will have a big impact on your repair expenses later down the road. Writing a legally sound lease is extremely important to preserve your financial wellbeing in case of a dispute. You don’t want to compromise on money, effort, or time while writing a lease.

Every state or even city may have its own set of landlord-tenant laws, in addition to federal laws. You want to educate yourself about the specific legislation that applies to you. Even then, if you mistakenly include something in the lease that’s illegal, you’ll be in trouble.

To avoid any legal ramifications, hiring an attorney to prepare a rock-solid lease for you is a great idea. And while digital copies are always good to have, they can be easily manipulated. Hence, make sure you have multiple copies of the actual thing and keep them safe in a file.

4.      Never accept partial payments

Whether you’re a vacation rental owner or a landlord, ensuring that your tenants pay in full and on time is one of the most crucial aspects of property management. For those with vacation rentals, this process is usually led by the service you’re signed up for, such as Airbnb or VRBO.

If you’re a landlord without a property management firm, then it’s on you to ensure payment arrives every month. Anything less than the full payment likely will have financial implications for you and (naturally) will involve legal consequences for them. And ultimately, you’ll have to deal with late fees or eviction proceedings.

See how hiring a property manager can eliminate headaches before they happen? If you initially hesitate to spend some of your profits on this, think again. The best professionals and companies will take all the guesswork and hassle out of the process so that you’ll think owning a rental property is the easiest job you’ve ever had…and that’s a gift you give yourself.

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