Who Wants to Be a Landlord?

4 Not understanding how to screen tenants
“How do you avoid a troubled tenant? Thorough upfront screening. That means checking the person’s background, revolving credit load, and credit scores. But you can’t base it solely on those things. These days, you’re going to see a lot of bankruptcy and foreclosure victims. So you have to evaluate that and massage your criteria accordingly. You can find some examples of good screening criteria on my site, www.landlording101.com.”

5 Not using a well-written lease
“This is a major line of defense. It protects you against challenges from the tenant on evictions or security deposit issues. If you wind up in court—and every landlord does eventually—a well-written lease will give you a firm legal position.”

6 Not conducting a market survey
“Every one to three months, I do research into the local market. For example, you should know how many landlords are waiving application fees for prospective tenants, or giving specials and other concessions. Doing a market survey is important to understanding the competition.”

7 Not properly maintaining your property
“A lot of landlords try to cut corners. At the end of the day, this is your investment. Do frequent inspections of the units in your building. You can catch little things, like leaky pipes, before they become major issues. You have to keep the property values up. When you do sell it, you want to get as much out of it as you can.’”

8 Not building the proper team and network infrastructure.
“If you’re the smartest person on your team, your team is in trouble. Have a good maintenance technician, a good plumber, and an electrician as part of your buddy system. Join landlord networks and associations such as the National Apartment Association.”

9 Not enforcing your rules and regulations
“Landlords are sometimes too soft on the tenants. When that happens, things can quickly get out of control and may also weaken the lease. Be respectful and professional, but have tenants remember that it’s a business relationship. You must enforce the rules. Have guidelines for cleanliness and order.”

10 Not treating landlording as a business
“What you have with a rental property is a business. Most people don’t approach being a landlord like owning a company. Rules, procedures, order… if you don’t create that structure, you’re not only hurting yourself, you’re hurting the neighborhood.”

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