1. Run Your Property Like a Business. Some people do a terrible job at running their businesses, and landlords are no exception. One reason may be that they see it as a “side-gig” or a hobby” more than a business, and a business deserves your full attention if it is going to be a success. When you treat your investment property with the respect, systems, and organization that you would treat any other business venture, amazing things can happen. Remember that the transaction is not personal, even if the property was your home, and put systems in place for when things do not go according to plan. Consider contingency plans for late rent and maintenance concerns so issues can be resolved without your direct involvement (in case you happen to go on vacation the day something major happens). When you shift your view as a landlord to a “business owner” — and treat your company as such - you will find far greater success.
2. Don’t discriminate, but screen, screen, screen. Perhaps the biggest error a landlord can make is letting in the wrong person. This can lead to late rent, trashed homes, and evictions. Do you think a car lot would give you a zero interest loan if they knew you didn’t have any income and a deathly low credit score? Make sure tenants have a stable income, no recent evictions, no recent felonies, and good references from past landlords. Be careful not to restrict tenants based on any of the protected classes, or you could find yourself in a lawsuit. Make sure you are well versed in all applicable laws, including the Fair Housing Act.
3. Treat Your Tenants with Respect. You don’t have to like your tenants. However, don’t allow personal feelings to get in the way of business. Tenants want to be treated fairly and they deserve it (no matter your personal feelings toward them.) Treat each tenant with dignity and respect and it will come back to you in success.
4. Don’t Be Too Nice. Your job as a landlord is to be fair, not to be nice. Being too “nice” may pave the way for people to take advantage of you. If the lease says rent is due on the first, expect your tenants oblige. By allowing your tenant to break the rules, you open yourself up to years of struggle and compromise that can ultimately lead to loads of stress and huge financial losses. Always treat others with respect and fairness, but do not allow yourself to be taken advantage of.
5. Ask questions & get help. No matter how long you’ve been in the property management industry, it is still likely that you will learn something new every day. Ask questions. Get opinions. Whether it’s a phone number for a service provider, help with an eviction, or just advice, reach out to other landlords for help. We love to talk to other property managers! We always walk away from the conversation better informed than we were when we began it.