We’re going to kick off this list of tips for managing rental properties with the very single most useful tip I learned from my short, unhappy experience as a landlord. If you think there is even the most remote possibility that you may want to rent out your previous home after you move into a brand new home constructed just for you, go ahead and start planning for that home becoming a rental property as long as you can before moving into the new house. You don’t want to wind up paying to get your old home in proper rental condition while you are also trying to pay for all the expenses you didn’t plan for when you find out that your new home is going to take twice as long to build as you were promised.
But that’s just the first tip for on managing your old home as a rental property when you are not a natural born landlord.
Insure Your Appliances Against Theft
Moving into a newly constructed home often means an upgrade in appliances. Or maybe you just won’t want to haul those large appliances from the old house all the way across town. Or maybe your concept of managing a rental property for the first time leads you to suspect you can charge a higher rate if the home is furnished with things like a refrigerator, stove, washer and dryer. You may be right. Or you may be robbed blind by those tenants who apparently could not afford that higher rate. We was robbed of our washer and dryer. They were really too small for our new home that came with our first child. A great lesson to learn about managing your old home as rental property is that renter’s insurance is worth it if you leave absolutely anything of any value behind.
Don’t Feel Bad About Doing Background Checks and Do It Yourself!
Putting the job of finding a tenant for your old home when you decide to turn manage it as a rental property is a big mistake. No matter who you hire to do the job of finding you a tenant, they will never be as invested in the deal to the extent you are. They have nothing to lose. You have, potentially, everything. Even if you aren’t a victim of theft, you could well be a victim of fire or flood or rough living or anything. Things have changed substantially since my experience when you pretty much had to rely on agency to check out potential tenants. Today, of course, managing a rental property means you can just go to any number of social media sites on the web and probably get a better picture of that person who wants to live in your home than even professional background checkers could get as recently as the 1990s. And if by chance you can’t find all you want for free, the web also offers the especially useful tool for managing rental properties of conducting your own background checks.
Know When to Say When
Some people are born to manage. They can manage anything, from a Little League baseball team to a slew of houses the flipped just for the purpose of making money by renting them out. Others, unfortunately, were not born to manage. And if you can do an honest enough assessment about yourself to recognize that you were not born for managing rental properties, then know when to say when. Know thyself enough to realize that longer you try to make being a landlord work, the more you time, money, effort and sanity you stand to lose before you realize you waited too long to say when. It may take one bad experience with a tenant or it may take three good rental experiences and one full-fledged disaster. But if you sense that you were just not born for managing rental properties even when it’s just your hold house, then be aware of your limitations enough to know when to give up. Giving up can mean turning every aspect of management over to a professional management service or it can mean deciding to sell the house. Either option is almost certainly better than trying to fit your round personality into the square hole that is being a successful landlord.