How To Get Started as a Landlord
First, let me just say that you can’t underestimate what “being a landlord” is all about. When you are a landlord, you are basically running your own business. That’s really what it is: it’s not a ‘job on the side’ or “part-time extra income’; it’s a business.
However what’s great about being a landlord is just how easy it really is to become one. It’s really a two step process: Own Property then Rent that Property.
Of course, there’s a lot more to it than that, but in this article we’ll focus on those two key factors.
Landlords: Owning a Property
To become a landlord, you first must own a property that is rentable. You may buy a property, inherit a property, or even rent out your own house. A popular option is of course buying a “fixer upper” house, then fixing it up and renting it out. This is a great way to make some long-term income.
More and more people these days are making extra income by renting out part of their house, be it the basement or turning the garage into an apartment.
I actually know one landlord that lived by himself, and turned his garage into a full-blown apartment. He was so impressed by the job that he did, that he ended up living in it and renting out his house instead!
Just remember that when it comes to renting a property, you need to have a long-term plan. To make your rental property livable, you will most likely have to put work into it. Be sure not to over-spend, and make a business plan up so that you are profiting sooner rather than later.
Also be sure to plan for any common issues that may arise. If you’re buying any sort of property to rent, be sure to do a lot of research on the area first and think about what tenants you’ll be able to attract to that neighborhood.
If you’re looking to buy any property, you can also often contact the owner of the property as opposed to the real estate agent and save some money.
Landlords: Renting a Property
There’s so much to cover when it comes to renting a property. Let’s get the easy one out of the way first: the most important factor in renting a property, is the Terms of the Lease or Rental Agreement. You need to make sure these are iron-clad and cover absolutely everything, from what utilities are included, to whether pets and smoking is allowed. Hell, even cover whether pets are allowed to smoke in there just to be safe!
We highly recommend using our Rental Agreement Builder to build yourself the perfect agreement.
This form generator covers absolutely EVERYTHING so you don’t have to worry about accidently forgetting something, and then having your tenant calling you up at 6am asking when you’re going to come shovel snow.
Even if you are renting to family and friends, be sure to get an agreement made. Some of the biggest issues that arise as a landlord can come from renting to family and friends. Don’t fall into that trap!
Make sure your property is livable, and 100% safe. Be sure to get a full evaluation to make sure it is up to todays safety standards. The type of wiring that would power a house 60 years ago may not be sufficient as it needs to be these days.
Look at the property yourself, and picture how YOU would live in it, based on the tenants you are expecting. One common mistake landlords don’t think about is outlets. If your property is old, then it may only have one outlet per room. In todays world, you’re going to need a lot more outlets.
Prepare for the worst. Unfortunately bad things happen, and you may need to evict tenants from time to time. Understand that, and be sure that you are up to this job. If it comes eviction time, you need to be on the ball, be legally in the right, and be prepared for anything.
Really – the main thing when it comes to renting is cover your ass. Make sure your Rental Agreement Form is perfect, and that legally you are 100% covered.