Property Management Tips for Real Estate Investors
The goal of any real estate investor following the successful acquisition of rental income property is to successfully manage the day-to-day operations of the property in order to keep the units full at the highest rent per square foot possible.
To do this, many landlords turn to a professional property management company. But their services are not free, and in many cases those additional outside fees might not be justifiable so the landlord is forced to manage the property themselves.
As a result, it seemed like a good idea to consider the big picture of property management and look at some rental management basics for real estate investors facing this situation.
- Property condition. Getting the best tenants and commanding the highest rent starts with a sharp-looking building that has good curb appeal. Keep the structure, landscaping, common areas, and parking in good clean condition.
- Tenant applications and screening. Require each potential tenant to complete an application, and then follow up to verify their employment, rental history, and credit and criminal history. Remember, it is always easier to get tenants into your building then it is to get tenants out of your building.
- Emergency repairs. Be sure you have reputable maintenance personnel on-call to service emergency repairs. This may be your job or someone you hire, just be sure the tenant has a "repair help line" they can call 24 hours a day when something must be fixed immediately.
- Aggressive marketing of vacancies. Get the word out about an upcoming vacancy instantly. Use signage, advertise in the newspaper, or post it on the web.
- Move-in/move-out coordination. Always plan to get a unit "rent-ready" within a day or two after it becomes vacated. Even when you don't have a new tenant in the wings, a clean unit ready to show a prospective tenant does help.
- Keys and locks. It is always a good idea to change locks each time you have a turnover in tenants. This added security is good for you and your new tenant.
- Learn the laws about eviction. Know what you must do to evict a deadbeat tenant even when you don't think it is necessary.
- Keep accurate books and records. Maintaining a good income and expense history is vital to your rental property business and the cornerstone to profitability.
Rule of Thumb
Whether you decide to hire the services of a professional or to tackle the job yourself, the important thing is to have a sound property management plan in place before you require it.
Here's to your success.