You’ve been searching for the perfect investment, and one day you see it. The perfect little starter home a couple streets down is going into foreclosure, and it’s almost half the price of the value of other homes in the area. “Buy me! Rent me out!” it seems to scream every time you pass by it. Although you’ve never been a landlord before, you have been a renter, and you’re pretty sure you have a good idea of the things not to do as a landlord.
You find yourself slowing down every time you pass the property. Sure, the front hedges are a bit overgrown and the porch needs repairing, but it really wouldn’t take too much effort to transform that little house into a place that any renter would love to claim as home. You’re getting more excited by the minute – until you read this article.
Think Before You Leap
That’s right; no matter how enticing it may seem to buy up a cheap property and rent it out, it’s important you think through all the ramifications carefully. Yes, you may know how important it is to be an easygoing landlord when things get tough, but what about when your mortgage is due and you’re depending on that rental check to help cover Junior’s football fees? Are you the type who can control your frustration when your renter is never home and never answers your calls? Are you prepared to deal with hostile renters who are facing eviction?
Are You a People Person?
Being a landlord covers a lot more territory than just finances. It’s a people business; if you aren’t great with people, if you have a quick temper, or if you aren’t a very adept judge of character, you might find that being a landlord is much more trouble than it’s worth. Do you have the insight to tell whether a person will be trustworthy, timely, and truthful?
The most important thing you can do as a landlord is learn to screen your renters effectively with services offered from places like Rentec Direct. You have the responsibility to check whether your renter is a sex offender or an ex-con. Sure, they may need a place to live; still, consider the needs of the other residents in the neighborhood. Not only is screening your renters the ethical thing to do as a good neighbor; it just makes sense that you’ll want to know the background of the person to whom you’re entrusting your valuable investment. The last thing you need is to have a renter who doesn’t respect you or who thinks you’re the bad guy; unfortunately, that’s exactly how many renters view their landlords.
Are You a Handyman, or Do You Hate Maintenance?
Another important consideration is maintenance. Sure, you might be able to fix up that rundown property in short order – although most repairs are much more involved once you get in the middle of them. Even if you do get the place spotless, you might be surprised how quickly a careless renter could allow the house to deteriorate. How will you handle it if the renter refuses to cut the lawn or trim the weeds around the house? Are you prepared to add the lawn care of another property to your weekly list of chores?
Even the Best Renters Require Attention
Even if your renters are perfect, you’ll still get that middle of the night call crying, “Help! The toilet’s overflowing!” When the pipes freeze, will you be ready and willing to trudge up the icy path and fix it or call a plumber to handle it? You might even get to the point that, in order to avoid any maintenance hassles, you work out a deal with the renter to provide cheaper rent if they’ll handle such problems themselves. If it comes to that, will the investment even be worth it?
Like any investment, acquiring rental property does have some intriguing prospects. Still, until you’ve thought about all the downsides carefully, you probably better just drive on by unless you’re sure it’s really worth it. After all, who wants to pay to enter a nightmare?