Owning rental properties is always an adventure if you choose to manage those properties personally. While no two days will ever be quite the same, there are some basic processes that you can implement to make the landlording experience a little smoother on a day-to-day basis. Here are three insider tips for landlords that are easy to begin and maintain that will make a substantial difference in your quality of life and often that of your tenant as well.
1 | Tenant Screening Made Simple
As we all know from the online date matching services, a simple set of checked boxes will not always reveal your one true love. The same is true for tenant screening. However, there are a few ways to hedge your bets and optimize your chances of landing Prince Charming for a tenant instead of a villainous ogre. A simple Google search on a potential new tenant can often reveal some vital information to expedite and refine your screening process.
Simple credit and background checks provide only statistical analysis, leaving landlords uneasy as there is not enough information to make a final decision. This is where the world of Google, Facebook and other social media outlet searches could provide the insight into the softer side of the scale, helping landlords discover more information on an applicant to make sure they are a good match.
For example, someone may say they don’t have any pets. Check out Facebook or Instagram, however, and you may find numerous photos of the possible tenant a what appears to be their pet. That insight may guide your renting decisions, though of course you must be careful to be fair and unbiased in your decision.
2 | Make On-Time Rents a Habit
Be proactive while establishing your rent process. We have so many channels available to setup for a successful payment the first of the month. Don’t miss the opportunity to make payday the focus for your new tenants from day one. Set up an email newsletter with an event or coupon for something in the local area and schedule it for the 25th of each month. Along with the coupon, include reminders about the many ways you conveniently accept rent. There are many different portals available to accept payments. Just perform an online search for “accepting online rent payments” and you will be inundated with many options.
Remind the residents how much you appreciate them with seasonal tips or by letting residents know how online payments are convenient for both the payor and the payee. Online payments also reduce the amount of physical papers that need to be kept track of throughout their lease.
3 | Offer Real-Time Maintenance Call Payments
Maintenance used to be included in the cost of rent, but recently some landlords are charging for certain maintenance calls. Never defer the maintenance invoice for the tenant’s ledger as opposed to collecting payment at the time of the repair. Set up a Square Merchant account on your mobile phone, tablet or computer so you can accept credit cards at the time of the service. This gets you paid promptly and rids you of follow up discussion and collection. You may also consider a Venmo account, which is particularly popular among younger renters. College students everywhere are collecting from each other whether for gifts, events or a beer by taking advantage of quick payment with the Venmo platform. You can enjoy this easy collection option as well.
Although every tenant is slightly different from the next, the more you can standardize your procedures across your rental portfolio, the better your bottom line will look.
Linda Liberatore is a member of more than seven REIAs in the Chicago area, president of the Lake County Property Investors Association, and shares her knowledge about effective, profitable property management at local and national REIA events as well as on podcasts and in print nationally. She will be presenting “How to Save 7 hours and $1,000 Each Month While Growing Your Real Estate Wealth and Rental Portfolio” at Think Realty’s National Conference and Expo in Atlanta, Georgia, on October 14, 2017, and contributing to Think Realty’s newsletter with valuable information leading up to that event. Click HERE to reserve your spot now.