If you have ever been a landlord, are currently a landlord, or are thinking about Edmonton investment properties for sale, you'll be glad you reviewed our latest tips and tricks of the trade! Some people think owning a rental property is all about finding a good condo or house in an area that renters will love. This is just the beginning! You have to interview tenants, create contracts, monitor your property, be on call for property repairs, and evict tenants if needed. Of course, the pay off is that the tenant gives you enough money each month to more than cover costs and eventually help you pay off the property in its entirety. Through all the pros and cons of owning a rental property, how are you to keep your head on straight and find some enjoyment in the process?
The answer is basically to get organized and be ready for anything that comes your way. We have come up with some easy tips to keep you sane and focused in order to make your investment property lucrative:
1. Be Organized And Keep Records
You have paid a lot of money for your rental property and should treat it like any other business venture. For the most part the tenants will live their lives and you will only hear from them when things in the house need repair. However, there are those tenants out there that may need a bit more time and attention. This is why keep records and documenting everything is in your best interest. Create a monthly spreadsheet of any bills you incurred, as well as the rent that you received. Was the rent received on time or are you charging interest for late payments? All these financial matters should be described in the spreadsheet with the amounts attached.
Another reason to keep records is so you don't have to second guess yourself if you encounter issues with a tenant. The finances and repairs are all neatly recorded and easily accessible to you should you need them. Keep all emails and text messages that have anything to do with repairs or rental payment discussions. Again, this will make your life easier as the proof is in the print!
2. Plan Inspections At Least Once A Year
It is your right as a property owner to know the condition of your rental unit. Keep an inspection checklist on hand and make it available to the tenants so they know what you will be checking for. Give the tenants a heads up that you'll be doing annual or bi-annual inspection on the home and build in clear consequences of not keeping the property in the agreed upon condition. This will keep you and the tenant on the same page with regards to the property.
Doing these inspections also sends a clear signal to the tenants that the property must be kept up to an appropriate standard. It also allows for you to plan ahead should major repairs or evictions need to be made. It should be no surprise to either party as to where they stand as a tenant or landlord if inspections are made and records are kept.
3. Know Your Resources
Even before the pipes burst at 2AM or the fridge stops working, have a list of tradespeople on hand that you trust. It will save you stress in the long run if you have regular inspections from reputable companies go into your home annually to check on various areas of the house. If you have multiple rental properties it will probably pay for you to hire someone to take care of all the property issues on a full-time basis. Don't think you are saving money by only calling if something is wrong. Regular maintenance will prolong the life of the home and its contents.
4. Make friends with the neighbours
Another great way to keep the house in better condition is to have someone take care of the landscaping and snow shoveling. Nothing makes a neighbour angrier than a scruffy property that tenants don't regularly maintain. Keeping your neighbours happy will keep you happy! Visit some of the homes and introduce yourself as the homeowner and give them your contact information. This way, if anything happens, you'll be the first to know. This also helps if you don't live in the city where the rental is, or if you live in the city but are away on vacation. The friendly neighbour will be sure to keep an eye on things without you having to ask!
5. Pay The Utility Bills
Many landlords don't want to pay utilities as they think the tenant will leave the water running or crank the furnace up while they are not at home in the winter. However, for the most part you can take the average annual usage and add it to the rent to cover your costs. You can also pay for the utilities and then charge back the tenant. Either way, you don't want a situation where the tenant is cut off by the city and you are not notified and the property suffers damage because of a lack of services. This way you are in control and can adjust costs accordingly.