Feeling overwhelmed? You’re not alone. Being a property owner and landlord can be incredibly stressful at times—especially when you’re just starting out. Here are our ten tips that will make you a better property owner.
1. Make your lease agreement ironclad
Whether you’re just getting started or you’ve been renting out your property for years, revisit your lease agreement. Go over it with your property manager and make sure there are no weak points or inconsistencies that renters could use to wiggle out of the agreement. Also, have your property manager advise you on whether or not your agreement complies with state and local law.
2. Invest back into your property
If your rental has the same layout, decor, and features it did when you first bought it back in 1995, you’re going to have a hard time attracting great renters at the rate you’re looking at. Every month set some of your rental income aside and save it for upgrades. Start with a kitchen remodel: it will both boost your property’s value and make it more attractive to renters.
3. Charge a fair monthly rate
You need to find the “Goldilocks” rental rate—not too high, but not too low. If you overcharge for rent, you’re going to struggle to find and retain renters. Undercharge, and you might not make enough to cover your overhead. Make sure you increase rent annually to cover any increases in your costs, such as rising property taxes.
4. Incentivize good renters
If you have a long-term renter who always pays their rent on time, takes care of the property, and follows the lease agreement to a tee, don’t let them go easily. Most people don’t want to move unless there’s a motivating factor. Incentivize them to stay by waiving fees and by making upgrades to the property.
5. Communicate with your tenants
If you make it difficult for your tenants to contact you, you run the risk of not knowing when something goes wrong in your property. Most renters are uncomfortable calling you unless something is truly urgent. For this reason, you may also want to open the door to emails and texting.
6. Stick to your policies (and the lease)
It’s tempting to make exceptions for people. It might be hard to say no—especially when your renter asks you personally if they can keep their cousin’s puppy in the condo. In most cases, this ends up being a slippery slope, where the violation of one part of the lease leads to other infractions.
7. Understand Virginia’s laws
You didn’t buy an investment property to become a lawyer, but you do need to have a basic understanding of Virginia state’s laws regarding rental properties and what both renters and landlords owe to one another. Otherwise, you could be potentially making mistakes that expose you to future legal action. Talk to your property management company in Culpeper if you have any questions regarding evictions or court representations.
8. Know local COVID-19 restrictions
In response to the ongoing pandemic, certain states and municipalities have added stipulations and passed new laws that guide how property owners can initiate evictions, collect owed rent, and more. Make sure you read up on these restrictions and rules now, so you know how to lawfully proceed if a tenant stops paying rent. When in doubt, talk to an attorney and get their guidance.
9. Stay on top of maintenance
It’s hard enough to keep up with maintenance for your own home, never mind a property you don’t actually live in or see every day. However, preventative maintenance is a critical part of being a property owner and can save you a lot of money and headache down the road. Contact your property manager in Virginia to help you coordinate any needed maintenance repairs.
10. Embrace the challenge
No one said that being a property owner was going to be easy. There are going to be stressful situations ahead. But you might also find something else: enjoyment. Beyond making money, there’s a lot of challenge in renting out a property that people find incredibly satisfying.
With the help of our property management services in Culpeper, you’ll have less to worry and more time to enjoy doing the things you love!
To learn more about our property management program visit our Property Management page. If you are interested in a Free Rental Market Analysis simply fill out our online form for a complimentary assessment of your property’s rental value. Also, be sure to follow us on Facebook for news, tips, updates and more.