Success as a landlord does not come overnight. Effective landlords with the most lucrative leases create their success by developing certain habits.
Develop methods of doing things that can help you better organize your time, streamline your operations, and build a solid reputation. In most cases, developing good daily habits as a property manager will save you money and increase rental income.
Of course, to make a rental property profitable, you must follow standard rental property management practices. Effective property management includes screening tenants, conducting criminal background checks, checking rental history, and obtaining credit reports.
If you are a first-time landlord, these processes are critical to your success. It is best to learn from the habits of other successful property managers. This is what successful landlords do to increase revenue, save time and build a strong reputation in the rental market.
1. Create communication key
Communication is the foundation of any business. As a landlord, you have to communicate well and regularly with your tenants. This means staying informed about maintenance requests, late rental notifications and rental renewals.
In addition, managing properties means effective communication with contractors, property inspectors and local government agencies.
To make their tasks easier, successful hosts create templates for all their documents. One way to do this is through property management software. Everything from collecting rent to e-signing leases or managing maintenance is digitally possible thanks to new technology.
2. Use technology to streamline operations
Making a habit of using the latest technology can save you time, resources and money. Thanks to technology, landlords no longer have to deal with a lot of paperwork. In fact, there’s virtually no landlord-related task that you can’t do with the help of technology.
- Rent collection apps. Encourage your tenants to pay rent electronically instead of by check. You’ll find it easier to track rent payments and send late rental reminders.
- Virtual Impressions. Digital tools can make virtual impressions easy. For example, you can record a walk-through of your rental property for potential tenants. Alternatively, an electronic key safe with remote access may allow tenants to view properties without you being there. Some tech-savvy hosts arrange self-guided, virtual 3D apartment tours.
- Cloud tech tools. Several tech tools help hosts stay organized and collaborate with others. For example, Google Docs and Microsoft OneDrive are excellent for document storage. Survey Monkey is ideal for creating surveys on resident satisfaction. Trello is perfect for task tracking and project management.
3. Establish procedures for recurring tasks
One of the most effective landlord habits is to create processes for recurring tasks. A landlord’s day-to-day life usually involves tasks that keep repeating themselves. For example, tenant screening, job posting, tenant eviction or background checks usually require the same things to be done. It’s a good idea to have checklists or use automated tools to complete repetitive tasks.
- Use a rent collection app to automatically send tenants reminders for rent payments.
- The app can also automatically calculate late fees if a tenant forgets to pay rent.
- Have a tenant onboarding checklist.
- Use property management software that processes rental requests.
- Set calendar reminders for regular or scheduled property maintenance.
- Have a step-by-step process for dealing with emergencies.
4. Be proactive
It’s never a good idea to wait for something to break before fixing it. By being proactive with regard to property maintenance, tenant communication and rent collection, you will save time and money.
- Require all renters to have renters insurance.
- Have a maintenance schedule to perform regular inspections.
- Encourage renters to set up automatic rent payments. If they don’t, send reminders before the rent is due.
- Send surveys to tenants to get feedback and insights on how to improve your services.
5. Build a network of trusted professionals
Whether you own just one rental unit or have a multi-family home, having a list of trusted contractors will save you time and money. If something breaks, there is a leak or another emergency happens. Knowing who to call in the middle of the night can save you a headache.
The five essential professionals you need in your network are an electrician, plumber, roofer, carpenter and plumber. It is also worth making sure you have a lawyer, broker and trusted accountant in your network.
Being a landlord can be fun – if you do it right
No matter how good you are at finding good leases, you can lose everything if you don’t manage your properties properly. Being a landlord doesn’t have to mean midnight calls, expensive evictions, or daily frustrations with ungrateful tenants.
6. Consistently adhere to ethical standards
An essential habit that will help you build a reputation as an honest landlord is to maintain high ethical standards at all times. Landlords are required to treat everyone fairly without showing signs of bias. In all cases, you are bound by the Fair Housing Act, which prohibits discrimination.
For example, if you are quick to evict tenants from an ethnic background, but are lenient with other tenants, you could be in trouble with the law. Something as simple as forgoing late fees for one tenant and requiring other tenants to pay them can become problematic.
Consistency will not only help you stay out of court, but you will also build a reputation for honesty.
7. Set long-term growth goals
To continue as a successful landlord, you must get into the habit of setting long-term goals. It can be easy to “rest on your laurels” because you are enjoying some success now. But where do you want your company to be in two, three or five years?
For example, do you want to attract a better class of tenants for your rental? Are you trying to achieve financial freedom through your real estate investments? If so, goals will help you realize your dreams.
8. Focus on a niche
Another excellent habit to enjoy success as a landlord is to focus on a niche. Without violating the Fair Housing Act, you can develop a profitable niche in the rental housing market.
What about a real estate-related niche, for example? These could be golf course communities, retirement communities, resort homes, or historic homes. Or you can allow standard pets in your rental to attract a wider audience. Plus, you can equip your rental with the latest smart technology to attract better-paid professionals.