Are you a new landlord? You’ll benefit from having a team of pros help you
Owning a rental property is an investment in your financial future, and managing it is a business. The temptation to save some money by doing everything yourself is in the end not worth it. Instead, build up a team of pros whose expertise and experience can guide you through work that’s costly to get wrong.
Let’s meet your team
Your insurance agent
Did you know that the kind of insurance you bought for your home when you lived in it is not what you need now that you have tenants? Your agent can quote a Dwelling policy to protect it with the right mix of property and premises liability coverage. Will you be accepting short-term rentals? Not every insurance policy allows that. A good agent will find one that does, and also help you consolidate your coverage when your original one or two properties turns into a dozen or more.
Work with an attorney experienced with your state’s rental property laws. They’ll guide you through what’s essential in a lease and what can be beneficial, such as a mediation provision or requiring a tenant to buy renter’s insurance. They can also provide guidance on the processes and record keeping you need to follow to demonstrate fairness and consistency on your part if there is a tenant complaint. And don’t forget to have contracts drawn up for all of your pros.
Your property manager
Are you prepared to be on-call 24×7? Do you want to spend your time calling for background checks, and hunting down late payments? If not, it may well be worth your time to engage a property manager to deal with day-to-day tenant matters.
Your maintenance crew
Keeping your property in good repair is your responsibility. Even if you’re “handy,” let an insured electrician, plumber, or roofer handle the big jobs. By the way, cleaning up after a tenant who trashes your unit is not an insurance claim.
You’re a business owner now. There are taxes and license fees to be paid on time, and there’s a big difference between doing your personal taxes and doing a business return. Professional help can get it all done correctly.
The bottom line
To be a successful landlord you can either be a coordinator of a team of pros, or you can try to do all of the work yourself. Figure out what you’re good at and like to do, then decide what makes more sense to outsource. Having a pro do something in an hour or two that might take you a day or a weekend pays for itself and protects your investment.
For informational use only. Not applicable to all situations.