Being a landlord is never easy. Many people begin renting out property thinking that it will be an easy and hands-off way of making money, but that is almost never the case. You are still normally responsible for all repairs past a certain point, any taxes that may be applicable, and you need to be sure that your tenant is happy and paying. While there are laws put in place to help protect you if your renter begins to become delinquent on the monetary side of things, there isn’t really anything to stop them from complaining to you about any number of small issues they may have. Some people just seem to enjoy complaining. Others tend to send in complaints about simple things, such as cosmetic issues like nail holes already existing or not liking the design of an overhead light that you had installed. While some renters will rarely say anything, there are always at least a few that seem to prefer complaining over any other hobby. Some complaints may be serious, like a dog that barks all through the night or neighbors that have house parties with loud music and lights when they are trying to sleep, but those are almost easier to deal with in some ways. At least those types of complaints you may be able to do something about. One of the main things to remember about renters that complain is that some issues are ones that should be dealt with and others need to be more or less brushed off. If the complaint is that they want a square overhead light in the kitchen instead of a round one, there isn’t much of a point to sweating. You can always suggest that they purchase the fixture themselves and more often than not, the complaints will stop. Now if the complaint is that they want a new light in the kitchen because the bulbs keep blowing or there is exposed wiring, that’s a different thing. Always try to get to the source of the complaints or the real reason for them before writing them off. This is especially true if your tenant doesn’t often make many comments like that. Unfortunately, some people are never satisfied and you may very well rent to one of these people at some point. Just remember, at least you still have that rent money coming in!
When you are getting ready for a new tenant, there are a lot of things that need to be done. This is especially true depending on how the previous tenant left your rental property. While we screen everyone here at Talley to try and ensure respectful residents, everyone's idea of clean or "good shape" is different. This means that you may find any kind of mess (or lack there of if you had a good tenant) and likely won't be sure what it looks like until they finally move out. Here are some things to remember when you are getting ready to show your rental property and have someone else move in. Be sure to clean everything, even if it already looks clean. Get into those hard to remember spots like under cabinets and behind toilets. Dust off light fixtures and scrub anything that looks discolored. Nothing is as annoying as moving into a new apartment and finding globs of dust in areas that children or pets can get into while you're still settling in. Many people will still clean once they move in regardless of how something looks, but it is always better to be safe than sorry. Another important thing to remember is paint. Painting between tenants is something you most likely should do, but sometimes just some spot touch ups will do fine. It is important to paint everything in neutral colors like white or a light beige. While you may like bright yellow for your home, not everyone will enjoy that in their apartment. Just remember to air the place out before you show it to someone. You don't want the paint fumes to give your possible tenants a headache! Luckily for you if you have a busy schedule or simply don't want to deal with these things, Talley offers move-in preparations as part of our work. We will do the cleaning and the painting because we know that you probably have a lot more on your plate and don't always want to be out painting until past midnight when you need to work the next day. We can always help you out with these things and do as much or as little as you need if you would like to approach these tasks together. Just let us know what works for you!
In our current series of articles, we are offering some simple tips for landlords to either implement or even just consider when it comes to different subjects. So far, we have covered rent and pets, so if you are interested in maybe trying something new with either of those be sure to check them out. In this article, we will be talking about actual financial and investment choices that you may run into. Hopefully these will help you optimize your rental property for the best return. 1. Renovations. Renovations are a tricky subject when it comes to rental properties. Sometimes they are necessary and other times they are simply cosmetic. The main thing to think about when it comes to renovations is how much it costs versus how much you can regain in rent. Obviously if something needs to be fixed due to a safety issue, there is no question. However things like updating appliances or changing around a floor plan may not be worth the up front fees quite yet. Never bite off more than you can chew when it comes to these renovations. 2. Extra Rental Options. If you have a property with outbuildings, you may want to think about renting them separately. For example, you may have a shed on the property that you keep a bunch of old tools in. If you are hoping for a little extra income, you can ask your resident if they would like to rent it out for a small added fee. Many people need extra storage or would like a workroom for things that can't really be done inside the house or apartment. They may even request you leave some of the things in there for their use! 3. Property Management. While we are obviously bias on this subject, we cannot stress enough just how important it is to have the proper property management company. Getting someone on your side who knows what they are doing can mean the difference between just scraping by and pulling your hair out and feeling confident as a landlord. If you have enjoyed these past three articles, stay tuned for the last Landlord Tips article coming soon. You never know if there may be something in here that you hadn't thought of before!
This is the last of our Landlord Tips article series, for now at least. We have covered a few topics that are important to many landlords and tenants both. Here are a few miscellaneous tips that didn't fit into any of the other articles but are important all the same. 1. Screening Tenants. This is arguably the most important thing to do as a landlord. You cannot accept any random person off the street and expect them to make the payments each month. Always ask for credit scores, references, and be sure to interview those who you are interested in renting to. It is always important to remember that age can make a big difference in some of these situations though. If someone is a first-time renter, they obviously cannot produce previous rental history and probably don't have much credit history. This is why meeting is also a large factor of the screening process. 2. Know Your State's Laws. When it comes to being a landlord, you always want to be protected in every way that you can. This includes knowing both the rental laws that protect you as a landlord and those that protect residents. You always have to assume that your tenant will do research to see what they can be protected against, whether they do that or not. Knowing both sides of the law is an invaluable resource for a landlord. The great thing now is that you can research online and print out some papers so you can always consult it at a later date if needed. 3. Market Your Apartment. Marketing your apartment has probably changed either since you were a renter or even since you became a landlord. Newspapers are not popular anymore for finding apartments. In fact, the majority of searches are done online. This means that you need to acquaint yourself with the websites and apps that most people use as well as take pictures and post listings. If you are unsure how to do this, a realtor is always a great investment. These past four articles have not been an all-inclusive guide to being a landlord, but we do hope they have helped you even just a little bit. You never know how things are going to be a few years from now when it comes to being a landlord, but we will do all we can to help prepare you for the here and now!
In a previous article, we gave you a couple of tips for new landlords, or even landlords that may have not thought of changing something up. The tips we gave you previously had to do with rent collection and these have to deal with pets. Pets are a touchy subject with many people and may be a deal breaker if you don't allow them. The decision is, of course, up to you. However, here are some things to consider when it comes to allowing pets or not. 1. Certain Kinds Only. Many landlords will state that they will only allow certain kinds of animals in their apartment. For example, my apartment complex does not allow dogs at all, and it is up to the individual unit owner if they want to allow cats or not. However, according to the bylaws of the complex, each unit is only allowed a maximum of one cat each. Some landlords only allow an animal that can be kept in a tank, such as lizards, fish, or snakes. Weigh the benefits of each type of animal over what can go wrong and see what works best for you. 2. Pet Deposits. A good amount of landlords will only allow pets if the person pays an extra deposit. This may be a monthly fee or a larger lump sum at the beginning of each lease. This often covers the amount that steam cleaning would cost or maybe even a new carpet depending on the damage that the animals cause. This is a good way to offset any problems you may have with a resident's animal. 3. By Request Only. I personally have a cat and always ask if a landlord would accept a small pet even if there is no information given. Sometimes I would ask even if the pet policy says no but it has been listed for a while. My current apartment was listed as no pets, but after asking I got the okay from the landlord. He said that he would allow a pet if I already had it, so that's another option that you may want to explore. Pets can be difficult to work around for many potential residents, but there are some options for you to reach some middle ground. Hopefully everyone will be able to walk away happy.