Today, I want to provide tips for self managers. The first and most important tip is: know the laws. Good property management takes a lot of time and work. If you don’t know the laws, the tenants will. You want to make sure you know them so you aren’t losing money in the end.
Another thing you absolutely have to know is your market rental rates. This is important because if you market your property at a price that’s too high it will be vacant for a long time and you’ll lose money. If you market the home at a price that’s too low, it will rent quickly but you could be making more money if you had priced it right. Understand the rates in your area.
Screen those applicants really well. Look at references, income, credit and backgrounds. Get as much information as you can on the people who want to live in your house. The reason you want to screen really well is because you want to get high quality people in your home. You also have to follow the correct laws as you screen. You can’t approve a tenant for the house just because they look nice.
Make sure your property presents well. It needs to have good curb appeal. The property has to look great, especially from the outside. When a prospect pulls up to your home and they see a beautifully landscaped yard and the front door is painted and the property looks inviting, you’ll get more people interested in the property. That makes it much easier to find that really high quality tenant.
Be available 24/7 for your tenants. This is critical because most issues happen when you’re out of town or when it’s late at night. When you have a property to manage, there are always issues coming up and you want to be sure you can protect your investment. Be available to take those calls.
Make sure you do constant quality inspections. Don’t just walk into the home and ask the tenants how things are going. Physically be present in the property and look through it. Open cabinet doors beneath the sink and look for water damage. Check the bathroom to ensure the shower curtain is being used and you don’t have water damage. Look for fresh caulking. Quality inspections are absolutely necessary for self managers.
Teach your tenants and educate them on how to take care of the property. For example, when the winter comes in the northwest, we tell them to release hose from hose bibs and cover those. When a freeze comes, we don’t want to burst a pipe. That creates an extra cost and damage to the property. The goal is to help your tenants learn how to maintain a home.
If you do not want to put in the time it takes to do property management, or if you don’t have the backbone to deal with tough issues and difficult tenants, use a professional property manager. And if you have any questions, please contact us at Trio Property Management.