Do you intend to rent out your house or condominium? Perhaps you’ve been considering purchasing an investment property. In either case, owning an item and renting it out is a risky but prudent decision. Rental property is in high demand these days, especially in prime locations. And, because you’re launching a business, you’ll need a landlord checklist to ensure seamless and trouble-free transactions.
A number of items should be on your first-time landlord checklist to guarantee that your potential tenant is taken care of. It can also be used to safeguard your rights as a responsible landlord. Examine lease and property restrictions, landlord-tenant legislation, the Fair Housing Act, zoning laws, and even notice periods to ensure you’re ready for the agreement.
If prospective renters are already interested, first-time landlords must follow a procedure that involves a tenant screening process, filling out a rental application, deciding on a security deposit, and discussing the lease agreement. Rental homes are a fantastic investment, but you must plan ahead of time to avoid unforeseen expenses, and collecting rent should be simple. That is feasible if you have carefully followed your checklist covering your prospective tenants.
As we all know, it’s equally distressing when a tenant leaves as when a new one arrives. As a property manager, you must ensure that the rent for each month, rental payment methods, lease terms, and move-in date are all agreed upon. We understand that there are many details to remember, so here is a first-time landlord checklist to get you started.
First time landlord checklist; steps to renting a house for the first time
- When you’ve decided to rent out your property, the next critical step is to get it ready for the new renter. This has a significant impact on the market price and determines if your home or unit is ready for occupancy. Who would want to rent out an apartment that resembles a storage unit? If the previous renter left it in poor condition, even if the rent is low, it will not attract tenants.
- You should also check to see if you are in compliance with local zoning restrictions in your location. Examine whether your property’s roof, walls, flooring, furnishings, stairs, railings, and interior aspects require an upgrade.
- Following your satisfaction with the property, posting rental ads, responding to inquiries, conducting rigorous tenant screening, and selecting a renter, here are the items you must examine next.
14 Things Every First-Time Landlord Should Have
1. All of the locks should be replaced.
Yes, this will add to your budget, but changing the locks on your rental homes is a requirement. It provides security to your new tenants while also relieving you of potential responsibilities.
2. Check the utilities again.
It is your obligation to ensure that all utilities are operational. We don’t want your tenants to have to deal with flickering lights, busted water pipes, power outages, or even inconvenient water interruptions.
3. Clean the apartment or rental property.
Aside from being a sanitary habit, cleaning the unit or rental property before the new tenant moves in is critical. Make certain that there are no clutters, vermin, or strange items from you or past renters.
4. Deal with the real estate property tax.
It is your responsibility to pay the real estate property tax, not your tenant’s. As a result, in order to prevent future penalties, you must make any delinquent tax payments.
5. Check the property’s condition.
Before the move-in date, both you and the tenant must document the property’s condition. This will assist you in determining if there are any damages once a renter moves out or if the current tenant reports any problems. List as many details as you can, from the condition to the upgrades or repairs that are required. It is also critical to take photos and discuss them with your tenant.
6. Before signing, go over the lease agreement with the renter.
Another item on your checklist should be to completely discuss the lease agreement with your tenant. Take use of the opportunity to explain the terms and conditions you have in place to avoid future disagreements. It’s critical that you and your tenant both comprehend the terms you’ve agreed to. This is also where you can allow your tenants to express their issues and, if permitted, bargain.
You can now sign the agreement if both parties are pleased with all of the terms and conditions.
7. Please include your most recent contact information.
Clear communication is one of the keys to preventing severe issues in the rental property business. They may have concerns or clarifications as new tenants that were not addressed during the lease agreement conversation. It’s also critical that you’re kept informed of any changes, problems, or crises that may occur on your property.
Unless you have a property manager who can help, your tenant should have direct contact with you. Don’t forget to collect your tenant’s entire contact information. This is related to collecting rental payments and ensuring that your tenant pays rent on schedule.
8. Find Online Tenant
Because the majority of tenants look for their next apartment online, creating an online rental listing is the most effective way to discover tenants. Promote your listing on sites like Trulia and be sure to include photos.
The key to finding tenants is to build an internet rental listing that informs tenants about your rental property. They’ll want to know the rent, the address, the amount of bedrooms and baths, the facilities, and surrounding attractions—the more detailed the description, the better. It’s also a good idea to provide clear images of every room and common area, since tenants will be more interested if they can see themselves in the space.
An appealing rental listing that showcases your best qualities and discloses your needs is the most effective approach to attract excellent tenants who will pay their rent on time and take care of your property.
9. A rental application is required.
A solid rental application will provide you with rapid information about your prospective tenant, such as their name, present address, reason for moving, employer information, income, and landlord references. It is critical to ask the correct questions so that you have all of the information you need to make an informed decision about who will live on your property.
10. A credit and background check is required
Credit checks are one of the finest ways to determine whether or not an applicant is financially responsible. When evaluating a potential tenant’s credit and background checks, keep an eye out for the following red flags: significant debt, late payments, bankruptcy filing, and prior eviction history. A strong financial and background history predicts that a tenant will pay rent on time, will not have a relevant criminal history, and will respect the property.
Keep in mind that renting to someone with good credit is always a good choice. Even if an applicant is otherwise ideal, negative credit may imply financial irresponsibility, which no amount of charisma or charm can compensate for that.
11. Have a rental agreement in writing
A formal rental agreement is the best approach to explain your expectations and protect yourself in the event of a legal dispute. While oral agreements are permissible in some cases (often for agreements lasting less than a year), they are less effective than a written instrument signed by both parties. It may be difficult to verify what was agreed upon prior to tenant move-in without a written record.
All of your rules and clauses must comply with state legislation. This is made simple for you by our lawyer-reviewed rental agreement. It is state-specific, which means that your rental agreement will automatically comply with the laws of your state.
A well-written rental application can help to establish a strong landlord-tenant connection. Who pays for repairs if something breaks? It can include time constraints and a procedure for responding to residents who have property issues.
12. Maintain Digital Records of Everything
You should keep records of everything as a landlord, including deposit receipts, rent receipts, maintenance receipts, and a record of every landlord-tenant interactions. Without creating paper clutter, digital records can be safely organized.
Keeping receipts and correspondence records is a good practice in case of legal difficulties. You are more likely to win in court if you have records of transactions and communications. It is always a good idea to have evidence to back up your statements.
Keep accurate documents to help you manage your firm professionally. Keeping records digitally is the most organized and up-to-date method.
13. Retain good tenants
You don’t want all of your efforts to go to waste after you’ve spent time finding tenants, evaluating tenants, and signing a rental agreement. Constantly repeating this process can be exhausting, so keeping decent tenants is the best way to save time and money.
If you have a renter that pays their rent on time and takes good care of your property, you should ask them to renew their lease 90 days before it ends. Renewals will help you avoid vacancies and save you time by eliminating the need to find new tenants.
14. Think about hiring a property manager.
Hiring a property manager might be a reasonable investment if you want to save time and money on tasks like marketing your home, collecting rent payments, and dealing with tenant complaints. If you find yourself overburdened with landlord responsibilities, a qualified property manager can assist you in managing many rental properties.
Hiring a property manager is an excellent option if you do not live nearby or do not want to fully commit to the hands-on duty of managing the rental. By entrusting the duty of owning a rental home to a third party, you can rest assured that your property is being maintained in a professional and timely manner.
Keep in mind that you are legally responsible for providing a habitable environment for your inhabitants, so if you lack the time or money to devote to this crucial work, it may be time to consider hiring assistance. Whether your property’s roof needs some TLC or the walls need to be repainted, a property manager may have to take on a lot of duty or hire the correct individual.
If you can afford it, a property manager can help you streamline your landlord tasks and make the renting process less stressful. Similarly to finding the perfect tenant, ensure that potential property managers are adequately screened. . Remember to gather local references and interview several persons before choosing on a final choice.
Do You Need a Property Manager?
Property management is no laughing matter, as seen by your checklist above. Because your asset is at stake, you must take it carefully when managing your rental units or buildings. While hiring a property manager is not required, especially if you are just starting out with one unit, it does come with a number of benefits. If you are too busy to be available to your tenants, hiring a property manager is the solution. They will be in charge of tenant screening and negotiating lease conditions. Property managers are also trusted to talk with tenants about lease and property rules, collect rent, handle repairs and maintenance, and issue notices. They will also be in charge of move-in and move-out inspections, as well as recordkeeping.
If you believe you will be unable to keep up with the obligations listed, it is preferable to engage a property manager. Just keep in mind that they charge for their services based on the essential duties. As a result, consider how you want your rental property business to operate.
Finding the correct property for rental investment can be difficult, especially given the country’s growing real estate business. However, for beginners, a single-family home or a condominium is usually the ideal investment property. Because the condo association handles external upkeep, you can concentrate on the interior. Condominiums, on the other hand, have smaller rentals and appreciate more slowly than single-family residences. Long-term tenants, on the other hand, prefer single-family dwellings. Families or couples are sometimes regarded to be better tenants than single people since families are assumed to be financially stable and to pay their rent on time. Check out the properties offered by Bria Homes to help you narrow down your options. They provide everything from low-cost condominiums to inexpensive apartments to suit your needs.
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Written by Raiza T. Gumarang