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Essential Tips for First-Time Landlords to a Stress-free Property Rental

Written by:
Maria Harutyunyan
R ARCHITECTURE (cover image)

A rental business is a commercial venture like any other enterprise that requires best practices and tools to run successfully. Starting can be challenging for first-time landlords without prior experience and knowledge in rental and tenancy matters. 

From knowing how to furnish and fit the property, creating a perfect rental agreement, to finding your first tenant, screening, rent collection, and property maintenance, all these can confound you at the start. Understanding your tax and legal obligations as a landlord in your jurisdiction is vital to avoid running into trouble with the authorities. Here are a few essential tips for first-time landlords to manage a stress-free property rental.

Get assistance from a property agency

Understanding the intricate requirements involved in a successful rental business can pose a challenge to a first-time landlord just getting started. The good idea is to hire a property manager to help you through the first few years as you learn the ropes to take over the management later. While hiring a rental agency will add to your costs, it will save you the time and stress you may suffer from launching a business for the first time. 

You need a property manager with credibility and extensive knowledge of the local rental market to help you gain entry through their established marketing network. A real estate firm has the capacity and expertise to find and screen tenants, maintain your property, and collect rent for you. Engaging Everest, Browning-Gordon, or Lease Killers Nashville rental agency offers you these services and guarantees a stress-free experience and peace of mind for a new landlord.

Operate the rental property as a business

The fact that you could be having a single rental house does not exclude it from being assessed as a business by the authorities. You will need to pay taxes due on the rental income, and you will also require protection under the law should you encounter rogue tenants. As such, the rental property must operate as a business under the local ordinances, state regulations, and federal laws to ensure compliance.

To successfully operate as a business, you must obtain all relevant permits and legal requirements from the local authority, screen your tenants, and conduct yourself professionally. Keep a clean record of your finances and purchase landlord insurance to protect against liability claims should an accident happen on your property. To give your tenants a good experience and preempt problems, engage relevant service contractors on call at all times.

Set your rent price right

You should set a fair market rent price that covers your rental expenses and leaves you with a reasonable income to meet your financial obligations. To ensure competitiveness, conduct thorough comparative research in your area to establish the median rent prices before setting yours. Any figure above the prevailing market rates in your area will leave you with prolonged vacancies that will only hurt your finances.

Before setting the rent price, carefully evaluate your mortgage installments, insurance fees, property taxes, and Homeowners Association (HOA) fees. Other recurring expenses include property improvements, repairs, and utilities that ensure the property is habitable and meets municipal standards. You may consider engaging a property expert to help you calculate your figures for an acceptable rent price attractive to potential tenants.

Screen potential tenants

You need quality tenants that pay on time to succeed in your venture as a landlord. A clearly defined screening process becomes necessary to help you get the right tenant for your rental property. One way to achieve this is to design a comprehensive rental application form with the right questions to collect all the information you need to select a suitable tenant.

Financial responsibility is a good indicator of a quality tenant that will ensure you both enjoy a good experience during the tenancy. Check out their prior eviction history, if any, notable debts, and undue payments in their credit rating and background reports. A detailed tenant credit check form and background check form before selecting one will help you avoid getting into legal battles for tenancy breaches later. Remember, you are just starting as a landlord, and you cannot afford defaulted rental payments that could force you into financial hardships.

Tender and enforce a written rental agreement

A written agreement in any business transaction solves many problems during engagement and harmonizes expectations. Protect yourself against tenant breaches and enforce the observance of rules that include yours and those of the neighborhood HOA. Put down in writing every expectation you demand of the tenant before move-in and discuss the same adequately to avoid ambiguity.

A perfect rental agreement must be specific in all clauses and customized to cover all matters you think necessary within your rental property and enforced to the letter. The specifics should cover such items as move-in and move-out notices, security deposits and refund policy, pets, HOA regulations, late rent fees, guest entertaining and parking, etc. The agreement must also specify both landlord and tenant obligations to each other whenever an issue arises to avoid confusion and shifting blame.

By Liliana Alvarez

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