Buy a property, rent it out, and put it to work for you. It’s an investor’s dream, right? What many new real estate investors aren’t prepared for, however, is the work involved with suddenly becoming a landlord. This includes handling rental contracts, payments, managing repairs, and property maintenance, as well as negotiating problems that may arise (including potentially having to evict tenants).
To avoid these hassles, many investors rely on a property management company to keep things running smoothly. Because your real estate property management team is a group of professionals that specialize in handling properties and tenants, they know exactly how to care for your property, maximize your rental, and deal with stressful issues so that you don’t have to. It’s a two-way street, though, and there are certain things you can do to make the job easier for your property management company.
You wake up one morning to find a desperate 2 a.m. email in your inbox. Your tenant (who is already a month late on rent) has had some personal problems arise and will be unable to pay for the next two months. As tempting as it may be to get involved and respond (either with sympathy or with an angry “Get out now!”), leave that to your real estate property management team. They handle situations such as this all the time — and can do so without getting emotions involved and while keeping within the boundaries of your rental contract.
Sometimes situations arise that may require you to visit a rental property. Perhaps it’s to take a look at the damage caused by a leak before the work crew arrives to repair it, or perhaps it’s because you’re thinking of selling the property and would like to show it to someone. No matter what, it’s important to give your renters notice whenever you (or anyone else) will be dropping by. Coordinate all visits through your property management company to ensure that there’s clear (and documented) communication about who will be stopping by and when.
As with any property, rental properties must be kept up. Sometimes it’s a one-time job like repairing a leaky pipe, but other items like taking care of annual winter maintenance need to happen on a regular basis. Make sure that your real estate property management team has all necessary agreements in place to approve repairs and maintenance in a timely manner. That way, whether it’s maintaining an air conditioning system or calling a plumber for an emergency repair on a Sunday, no issue will go unaddressed for long.
You always hope that major repairs for a rental property never arise, but inevitably, there’s bound to be something that will come with a hefty bill in tow. For a standalone house, this might be a roof replacement or a pricey foundation repair. If you own a multi-floor apartment building, the elevator or building water pumps may need major repair or even replacement. This is why keeping a reserve fund makes good sense. When costly repairs arise, this fund will ensure that you don’t have to pull money from your personal accounts … or defer maintenance and potentially damage your property’s good rental reputation.
If your rental agreement stipulates that the landlord will cover utility expenses such as garbage pickup, water, or other things, make sure those bills are paid on time. Having a backup of trash or water getting turned off will only result in complaints — and headaches — for your real estate property management team.
Finally, make sure your real estate property management team is being compensated for their services in a timely manner. One of the most common misconceptions of investing in rental properties is that you’ll have to essentially take on a second full-time job as a landlord. Property management companies can ensure that this isn’t the case. They work full-time so you don’t have to, which frees you up to focus on other things — whether it’s your career or enjoying a monthly flow of passive income to fund your retirement.