Are you new to the real estate industry? Most beginners start with something that they are already familiar with: residential properties. After all, that’s where we’ve been living our entire lives. Managing these rental properties shouldn’t be too hard, right?
Not quite. There are a lot of skills that you need to learn, and there’s definitely a learning curve as you’re gaining experience as a property manager. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. In this article, we are going to share with you some must-know tips on how to manage residential properties. Here they are:
Know Your Responsibilities
Learn about the major responsibilities of a residential property manager. There are three:
- Managing your tenants.
- Taking care of the investment property itself.
- And managing finances.
Being a landlord definitely involves more than just collecting rent. You need to maintain a good relationship with your tenants, take care of your contracts and agreements, make sure that your rental property is always in a safe and livable state, and more.
Know Your Limits
There are a lot of tasks in store for you when it comes to caring for and upgrading your property. Again, there are three ways to go about it. First, if you’re confident with your skills, you can DIY them. Next, if you’re not that sure about certain tasks, then know your limits and outsource the other projects instead. Finally, if you really want to go all out and you have the budget to spend, you can get everything done professionally. If you’re running a bit out of funds, you can take a look into applying for a cash advance. It’s an easy option to get the funds you need right now and pay them later once rent payments stream in.
You Can Outsource!
Since we’re talking about outsourcing already, did you know that you can outsource property management as well? There are professional property managers and property management companies that you can hire to perform all the responsibilities we have mentioned above for you.
Just make sure to research carefully about the company or professional that you want to hire since mismanagement can ruin your business.
Grow Your Skills
If you’re really adamant to let others take control of your rental property business, then it’s probably high time to learn some new skills. Most professional property managers have finished degrees in business administration, accounting, and of course, real estate. There are then exams that one can take to obtain certification and licenses.
For those who are not looking to go back to school, there are also a lot of certificates and vocational courses that you can enroll in. These might take a few months to complete, but they can adequately equip you as well.
Finally, there are also short and quick online courses that you can sign up for. These might not be as thorough as a vocational course, and more so a bachelor’s degree, but they are still beneficial for skill-building.
Organize Your Paperwork
There are a lot of agreements, certificates, and other legal documents that you should keep organized and stay on top of. Here are the most important ones:
This determines the terms that you and your tenant agree on. It must contain all the updated legal terms in your own state’s tenant law. Don’t forget to indicate the start and end dates as well.
Certificate of Occupancy
This is a document certifying that the structure is built and maintained as a residential property. This is usually issued by the local zoning and building authorities in your state.
Housing Business License
Once you have secured your certificate of occupancy, you may now apply for a housing business license. This will be determined according to the type of property that you have: Is it an apartment? A series of townhouses? You will need to acquire one for each unit you’re planning on leasing.
Finally, you need to get your investment property fully insured to protect you from unforeseen circumstances.
Hustle Your Network
You now have your rental property ready. You have grown your skills. You even have all the necessary paperwork. The only thing that’s left to do now is to market your property. We are going to share with you more tips on how to do this online, but first, you must hustle the network that you already have.
You can check if your personal and professional network has people who are already experienced in the real estate industry. You can use this chance to learn from their personal experiences and even meet other people in the industry to expand your current network. Aside from that, you may also use this chance to get to know prospective tenants.
Choose Tenants Carefully
Speaking of tenants, you’d want to choose them carefully. Ideally, they must be financially responsible with an income of at least thrice the amount of your rent. You may ask them about their rental history and even get referral contact numbers of at least their two previous landlords. Don’t forget to run a criminal background check as well. Finally, choose your tenants conscientiously. Do not discriminate according to one’s race, religion, gender preference, physical disability, and familial state. The Federal Fair Housing Act prohibits it.
Don’t Stray Too Far
Once you already have your first group of tenants, then your work as a residential property manager officially starts. You will soon learn that it’s way beyond just collecting rent. It’s actually a lot of work. You’ll soon receive emergency calls, maintenance requests, even complaints. Make your work easier, and be more serviceable to your tenants by living close to your rentals. In fact, we recommend staying inside your own property as much as possible.
Finally, don’t forget to smile. Being a residential property manager is something that you should take pride in. You are doing a great deal of service to the public. We hope that by sharing the tips we have listed above, we have made the path ahead of you a little bit easier. There are bound to be challenges ahead but we’re confident that you will be able to face them head-on and use them to gain valuable experience. Good luck!
This article has been contributed by Jim Hughes.