How to Be a Good Landlord?

Like many other things in life, being a good landlord doesn’t necessarily come naturally to all of us. In fact, being a good landlord today is far different than it was 10, 20, or 50 years ago. As times have changed, so too have the expectations between a landlord and tenant.

Adapting to these changes is one aspect of how to be a good landlord. Successful landlords expand their toolbox to meet the expectations today’s tenants have. The other aspect is applying some timeless tips to newer property management trends that can help you become not just a good landlord but a great landlord! Servicing a number of areas and offering property management in San Antonio, TX all the way to property management in Raleigh, NC, our team at Great Jones has the resources and expertise to help you become a great landlord. Read on for the top landlord tips that our team of real estate veterans has compiled together.

Being a Landlord is Serious Business

Becoming a good landlord is a process rather than a one-time event, and at the core of the process is how you see yourself. Do you see yourself as a landlord or do you see your role as a landlord as an unpleasant but necessary requirement for reaching your financial goals?

There’s no right answer, but if you are looking to be a great landlord you’ll have to invest the time and energy into the process. If being a landlord isn’t your primary, secondary, or even tertiary concern, you should strongly consider outsourcing your property management to a third-party.

Enhance Your Tenant Screening

One of the best landlord tips we can offer is to get the best tenants possible. It’s easy to be a great landlord when you have excellent tenants, but being a good landlord with difficult tenants can be more challenging. 

If your current tenant screening process involves a simple credit check, it might be time to add to your screening tools. While a credit check can provide a basic picture of your prospective tenant’s financial picture, it doesn’t provide enough information to tell you if they will be a great tenant. To develop a fuller picture of your prospective tenants, it’s a good idea to run a background check and get a couple of personal references as well. Taking the time to talk to those references can give you the insight you need to make an informed decision about whether a potential tenant is right for your property.

While the tenant screening process can be time-consuming, it is far better to spend additional time weeding out unsuitable candidates before anyone has signed a lease. Choosing great people to trust your investment with is one of the most effective ways to avoid big problems down the road.

Create a System for Repairs

Giving your tenants the ability to submit requests for repairs or service 24/7 is one important aspect of how to be a good landlord. Your tenants need to feel like their requests for service or repairs are a top priority. They will also want the flexibility to be able to submit a service request through an online portal, rather than having to sit through a phone call. Creating a system for after-hours support is also a great way to let your tenants know you’ll be able to arrange a solution for them no matter what time a problem pops up.

An important aspect of this process is responsiveness. Not only do tenants want the ability to be able to conveniently submit service requests after hours or on weekends, but it’s also important that there is follow-through on those requests. Reducing the delay between when a service request is submitted and when a technician arrives at the home should be a top priority.

It can be challenging and cost-prohibitive to create the kind of responsive, all-hours, online service request portal many of today’s tenants expect. In order to do so, it may be worthwhile to work with a property management company that has the capability to handle such requests. Be sure to choose a property management company such as Great Jones, where you have access to industry-leading tools like our work-order system.

Offer Flexible Rent Payment Options

One of the great things about today’s technological advances is they give landlords access to a wide range of tools they can use to add convenience for their tenants when collecting rent. One of the easiest ways to make this more convenient for your tenants is to offer a variety of methods for them to pay rent. 

At Great Jones, we help property owners give their tenants the ability to pay rent in the way which makes the most sense for them. Tenants can pay their rent with cash, E-Pay or ACH, and with a cashier’s check or money order. We’ve partnered with Zego, powered by Paylease, so cash payments can be made at participating retailers such as Walmart or CVS. Electronic payments can be made through our convenient online portal, and money orders or cashier’s checks can be mailed.

Offering multiple payment channels benefits both your tenants and you as the landlord. Tenants get the benefit of being able to pay their rent in the most convenient method for them. For landlords, removing barriers from the payment process reduces rent delinquency and improves payment consistency, ensuring not only that you get your rent but that you consistently get it on time. 

Perform Regular Inspections and Invest in Upgrades

One easy tip for how to be a great landlord is to ensure your property is in good repair. It might be tempting to avoid repairs until they are absolutely necessary, but it is often far better to be proactive when it comes to your property.

An important aspect of keeping your property in good health is to identify small problems before they become bigger issues. The best way to accomplish this is by regularly inspecting your property. This will give you the chance to identify any potential issues early on and develop an action plan for addressing them before they become larger, more expensive issues to resolve.

Alongside regular inspections, consider investing in your property to increase your rate of return. Adding amenities like energy-efficient HVAC systems, in-unit laundry, and updated appliances can attract high-quality tenants and reduce the amount of time your property stays vacant. 

Utilize a Great Leasing Agreement

Many landlords make the mistake of grabbing a generic lease agreement off of the internet and using it for their rental property. If you want to be a great landlord, it’s time to consider ditching a generic lease and working with a time-tested document.

Your lease provides the structure for the relationship between yourself and the tenant. Through your lease, you communicate what your expectations of the tenant are, and what your obligations as the landlord are. As a legally binding document, it is incredibly important every potential issue is accounted for in your leasing agreement. For example, if you have a situation where your tenant is late paying their rent, it’s crucial your lease clearly outlines the consequences of delinquent rent.

A clearly written, legally enforceable lease/tenancy agreement doesn’t just protect you from a bad tenant. It also protects the tenant from the landlord. Discerning tenants will take comfort in a battle-tested leasing and tenancy agreement because it creates a strong foundation for their living arrangement. 

Work With a Property Manager

Being a great landlord requires a lot of juggling, and it’s not always an easy balancing act. If you have struggled with taking on your role as a landlord you might consider working with a property management company that does all of the heavy lifting for you.

At Great Jones, we firmly believe your success is our success. We understand exactly what it takes to be a great landlord and have created the systems, processes, and structures which facilitate the best possible experience for both landlords and tenants. At Great Jones, we bring the tools and processes used by real estate investment trusts (REIT) to an individual real estate investor.

If you are considering working with a property manager, choose to work with one who has the tools and expertise to help you grow and succeed. Ideally, your property manager will offer your tenants access to a convenient service-request system and multiple avenues to pay their rent. They should have a demonstrated track record of being responsive to both you and your tenants’ needs and have the resources in place to minimize vacancy times and help you get the highest-quality tenants available.

Closing Thoughts

Being a great landlord doesn’t have to be a mystery, but it will require your time and energy. Tenants want a landlord who is responsive to their needs, who communicates expectations clearly and effectively, and who offers conveniences many tenants have come to expect. These include flexible payment options for rent and access to an online work-order system for service requests and repairs.

As a landlord, one of the most effective ways to become a better landlord is to have great tenants. While simply relying on a credit check alone might get you a good tenant, there remains an element of risk. To get a full picture, consider running a background check and communicating with personal references before you commit to a tenant. 

One of the most accessible ways to become a great landlord is to work with a great property management company like Great Jones. We give you access to all of the property management technology and tools many local property management companies simply can’t provide. We offer your tenants features they want like flexible rent payments and online maintenance requests. We also leverage our resources to reduce your properties’ vacancy rates, maintain your property’s value, and place the highest quality tenants.

To begin your journey to becoming the best landlord possible with Great Jones, please contact our team today for property management services in Memphis, TN to St.Louis, MO and everything in between.

Sources

  1. https://www.forbes.com/sites/brandonturner/2017/12/09/13-principles-for-being-an-incredible-landlord/#5db49b613ddf
  2. https://www.rocketlawyer.com/article/how-to-be-a-good-landlord-ps.rl
  3. https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/176836

Kahala Bonsignore

Kahala works on the Growth Team at Great Jones where she's dedicated to helping more Property Owners learn about Great Jones and how their partnership can increase profitability and decrease rental stress.

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