Let’s just get one thing out of the way first – being a landlord is not an easy job. The overwhelming majority of new landlords think they’re going to have it easy, but in about 99.9% of cases, the reality of things comes as quite the shock.
Of course, this isn’t to say that succeeding as a landlord is impossible – you just have to adopt the right approach, put in the necessary effort and take heed of a few essential tips and guidelines. So for those considering investing in a buy-to-let property in the near future or already up and running their efforts, here is a quick rundown of 10 essential tips for becoming a genuinely awesome (and highly successful) landlord:
- First and foremost, you cannot expect to become a fantastic landlord until you know the specifics of the industry inside and out. There will always be a lot that you have to learn by experience as you go along, but there is also a hell of a lot you can research and study at any time. The more you know, the better equipped you will be to deal with every possible scenario and the more likely it is that your business will succeed.
- If you really want to become the very best landlord you can be, it is definitely worth considering making the switch to property manager software. Regardless of how many properties you own and how personally involved you are in the whole process, the right software really can make all the difference in the world. From automating simple jobs to ensuring you never miss a payment again, the right software can be worth its weight in gold.
- Making up the rules as you go along is an absolutely terrible idea and so too is making a list of rules and then being flexible with them when and where it suits you/your tenants. Every successful landlord puts in as much time and effort as necessary to create a policy which they then stick with across the board. This can of course be supremely helpful when and where a property owner is managing multiple properties, but it’s still a good idea even if you are only letting out one.
- Try to remember that you absolutely must be offering a fantastic product in order to attract fantastic tenants. It’s one thing to search high and low for the tenants of your dreams, but if you are willing to provide them with the property of their dreams, you’re wasting your time. You are effectively a product owner and marketer at the same time – create a good product, market it well and the rest takes care of itself naturally.
- When it comes to the hours you are willing to work, it’s important to establish ground rules from the start. For example, any kinds of queries that are not considered fundamental emergencies should be restricted to standard office hours. By contrast, it is important to ensure that you are comprehensively contactable should a genuine emergency occur.
- Try to remember that there will only ever be so much you can take care of yourself when it comes to management of your property, letting your properties out, maintenance, repairs and so on. Sooner or later, you are going to have to consider the prospect of working with third-party service providers.
- The help and support offered by high quality on-line rental agencies simply cannot be overstated in its value. Such services may not be offered 100% free of charge, but the way in which they can lighten the load and potentially maximise your profit at the same time is a prospect that should never be overlooked.
- Being strict when it comes to late payments is of critical importance – regardless of how generally pleasant your tenants may be. The simple fact of the matter is that once you’ve let them get away with late payments three or four times, it will become the norm in their eyes. Think about imposing late payment fees which must of course be set out in full in the tenancy agreement/contract.
- Speaking of which, it is of imperative importance that you produce a contract that is 100% comprehensive in detail and doesn’t leave out a shred of anything important. If unsure, you might want to consider speaking to the professionals for advice on how to make this happen.
- Last but not least, there is very little of greater importance than being civil, approachable and friendly at all times. The simple fact of the matter is that the less approachable you are, the higher the likelihood of things going south sooner or later. Even if you find yourself dealing with tenants that you don’t particularly like, it is in your best interests to keep things as sweet as possible.