Whether you hire someone to manage your investment property or do-it-yourself, there are some key property management mistakes you want to avoid.
Sometimes being penny wise is being dollar foolish. Owning property is a long-term investment with the building, the land and the tenant so planning ahead is important.
Here are some tips to help you along the way:
1. Screen and Interview Tenants. Do your due diligence, have the tenant fill out a rental application, collect the fee for a credit report, criminal background check and call to confirm employment. Remember when doing your tenant background check, fair housing laws require that what you do for one you do for all, be consistent. And get a copy of the ID to make sure you know who you are dealing with.
2. Hiring New Contractors Every Time is a Big No-No. You want to create a relationship with the local contractors where when you have a problem you call them and it gets done. Shopping around for the best price all the time will just cause you headaches and more time in the long run. So find someone local that has been in business for a while and knows what they are doing, create a relationship and stick with them.
3. Hiring Unskilled Workers to Save Money. This will just come back to haunt you. They probably have no insurance, no or little experience, no guarantee on work done. On top of all this no background check, who knows who you are hiring, this could be a huge safety issue.
4. Letting Tenants Do Their Own Maintenance or Repairs. This is almost as bad as hiring unskilled workers, it might seem like an easy way out but this could lead to further damages, more repairs and you could be liable for damages or injuries.
5. Failing to Do Routine Inspection and Repair. Owning property has a lot to do with preventative maintenance. In the short term it will cost a little and in the long term save you much. Routine inspections can help you spot problems before they become huge and shows the tenant that you care. Depending on the age of the property you can do yearly inspections, bi-annually or quarterly.
6. Communicate with the Tenant. You need to keep open communication with the tenant; e-mail is the best since it is documented. If you have any concerns you reach out, if there are any problems tell the tenant to let you know ASAP. This will create a sound landlord-tenant relationship.
7. Do Not Wait Until the Last Moment to Renew the Lease. Talk to your tenant 60 to 90 days before the end of the lease to see what their plans are. Also communicate if there will be an increase of rent and if so why. Remember this is a two way street where you want it to be a win-win for both parties.