No one is born a landlord. Nobody is born with the investor mindset. Some choose to become landlords as part of an investment strategy. Others become ‘accidental landlords’ when a job transfer or other unpredictable life event forces them to rent their former residence. Regardless, to be a good landlord requires a little finesse, a lot of organization, good communication skills and some short-term and long-term planning. So, what do you need to do to be landlord-ready? Keep reading and find out …
When you become a landlord for the first time, it is important that you mentally prepare yourself for your home being ‘taken over’ by your future tenants. There is a good chance that your tenants may not love and cherish your property in the same way you did. They may not like the color of the walls. They may have very different tastes in furniture. They may say or do things that you do not agree with, but it is important that you separate yourself emotionally from the home and view the entire experience strictly from a business perspective. The sooner you reach that mindset, the better you’ll sleep at night.
When preparing to rent a home, it is important to consider the cost/benefit of the repairs, modifications, and upgrades you are considering making. The cost/benefit can be considered in a variety of ways. For instance, tile or laminate floors are great additions for properties that owners are planning to hold long-term because they are difficult to break and can normally be cleaned to an as-good-as-new condition with minimal cost, rather than paying to replace carpet every 2 or 3 years. But, tile is more expensive than carpet. If you are not planning on holding the property for a long time, the upfront cost might not make sense. On the flip side, simple landscaping is surprisingly affordable and can add big time curb appeal to a property. This will usually lead to higher rents or, worst case, a bigger pool of tenants to select from. These benefits are very different than the flooring scenario mentioned above, but they both should be considered on a cost/benefit basis. Lastly, and this goes back to the mindset piece above, try to remember that you will NOT be living in this home. The property does not need to be up to the standards YOU are used to living in. It needs to be up to the standards of the market it is in and of the tenants who will be living in it.
DON’T FORGET THE LAW
It is imperative that you become familiar with the landlord-tenant laws in your state. They are extremely important to follow and penalties can be imposed should you neglect to follow the rules.
If this sounds like a lot of things to think about, I hate to say it but this is just the tip of the iceberg. As is mentioned above, landlording and renting homes is a business. And just like any other business, people who do it frequently are usually better at it than people who don’t. This is why you should consider hiring an Orlando property manager (obviously us, if you are in the Central Florida area =) ) to handle these, and many, many other matters for you. Florida Property Management is not for the faint of heart. Focus your time, money and energy on the things you love and/or the things you’re good at. Let us handle your properties for you. Remember, hand us the keys and your life is a breeze!