Landlording & Rental Properties

How I Perfected the Process of Self-Managing My Rentals

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9 Articles Written
Cheerful couple receiving keys to their new home

Clement Stone, a businessman, philanthropist, and author, once said, “Everyone who achieved success in a great venture solved each problem as they came. They helped themselves and they were helped through powers known and unknown to them at the time they set out on their voyage. They kept going regardless of the obstacles they met.”

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This quote, in my opinion, should be the mantra of every new, small, and growing real estate investor. It is also what I continually preach. The success he speaks of can take many different paths. Every large real estate investor started out as a new, inexperienced, and SMALL investor (with maybe a few exceptions on this last one). Everyone bought their first property at one point. It may have been a multi-million dollar property or a $10,000 property, but it was the first. And they learned something from it.

What I have learned during my short few years as a real estate investor is that real estate investing is diversified, and it is always evolving. There are few investments out there that can be as rewarding and as diverse as real estate. Although real estate can make one a millionaire in a relatively short period of time, it is also just as apt to devastate one financially in far less time. Real estate investing can adapt to a wide array of situations, but as commonly known, one person’s success is often built upon the failure of another.

As I have written in previous articles, I own five duplexes and am constantly on the lookout for more on my way to my modest goal of 25 properties. By most standards, I am a small investor and always will be, but so are the vast majority of real estate owners. In my area, I am in the process of cataloging the multifamily properties. During this process, I have found that many of the properties are owned by people whose portfolios consist of only one or two properties—not by some large real estate mogul or distant real estate investor.

Due to this, I am focusing this article on those investors who are like me, who started investing later in life (I was 45-ish), and those who likely will always be small investors with a handful of properties.

In my few years in real estate, I have learned a plethora of ways not to do something. In my job in law enforcement, I work for a government agency. As most anyone can tell you about government, the great majority of the time they are reactive and not proactive. When you are spending tax dollars, the mindset is to not fix something until it breaks. Now, this may not always be the case, and I am sure some government entities are proactive. But by and large, being reactive is the “business plan.”

Aerial view of a green leafy suburb

What I’ve Learned From Self-Managing a Handful of Rental Properties

In real estate, it is easy to get into that same mindset of not fixing anything until it breaks. As the old saying goes, “Don’t fix it if it isn’t broken.”

However, I have learned that doing preventive maintenance and being proactive can pay dividends down the road. Now, I will admit this can be a slippery slope. I have to evaluate my decision and determine if it is prudent financially or if the same result can be achieved down the road with less expense.

I am not saying our system is the best or the way you should do it, but it is one that has worked for my brother and me. And it’s one that we continually update and try to improve. If you ever start believing you know it all or have seen it all, you need to get out of real estate, as you are headed for a fall!

What I’ve Learned About Purchasing Property

We look for multifamily properties that were built as such and not converted. My brother, who is my partner, is in construction and knows that renovations on properties that were built as single family homes and converted to multifamily are often more costly to maintain. We focus on two-bed, one-bath units, as they seem to be the sweet spot for us. We aim for between 800 and 1,000 square feet in each unit. We do own one property that is a one-bed, one-bath, as well as one micro duplex.

We look for properties that have updated wiring, plumbing, and central air and heat. If a property does not have updated AC, heat, and plumbing, we pass. Most of the prospective tenants in our area—at least the ones we cater to—want central air and heat instead of window air conditioners.

Also, we have found that as long as the wiring is copper, even if it has the old fuse box and no GFI circuits, we can update the panels and put GFI breakers in. That allows us to switch out the outlets from two-prong to three-prong and still protect the circuit from shorts. This is code in our area and is cheaper than pulling all new wire. Doing this costs about $1,200 to $1,500 to update the panel compared to $7.50 a square foot to pull new wire. On an 800-square-foot per side duplex, this equates to $6,000 per side—a big difference.

As long as a property has good bones, we are OK with it needing a facelift, so to speak. Plumbing, HVAC, wiring (if it is aluminum or knob and tube), foundations, and roofs are major costs though. If the property needs significant work in any of these areas, we pass on it.

One other item of note when looking for a property is to properly analyze the financials. This goes for all types of property, including apartment complexes, smaller multifamily, and even storage units. When someone talks about vacancy rates, make sure it is the income vacancy and not the physical vacancy. For example, an owner may say his storage unit is 95 percent occupied. However, 10 percent of the renters may be 30 days or more late on rent, which essentially lowers the income vacancy rate to 85 percent and not 95 percent. This is a key concept when analyzing financials. There is more information on BiggerPockets on this.

What I’ve Learned About Making Property Updates

We are OK with cosmetic updates, such as paint, flooring, plumbing and electrical fixtures, updating exterior doors, and putting on aluminum soffit and fascia. We also install underground sprinklers if the property does not have any. We can often charge more per month in rent once these updates are done. We ensure the gutters work correctly and drain away from the foundation, and we also do landscaping and trim up any trees on the property. We remove any shrubbery next to the foundation and replace it with plants that require minimum water and maintenance.

We install keypad deadbolts on all of the exterior doors, and we change the batteries in them on a regular basis. While we spend significantly more up front on these locks, it has saved us down the road in having to have the door rekeyed each time a tenant moves out. Also, we have found our tenants like this better, as they feel more secure. We do have a master code that allows us to access the property anytime we need. We like this, because we do not have to tote around keys.

For interior paint, we use eggshell finish—we have found it helps hide flaws. We apply paint with a three-quarter-inch nap roller. We choose two different paint colors and one trim color on all of the rentals. We do this so that in a duplex we can paint each unit a different color. However, the color is the same throughout each unit. This saves in labor costs and allows us to maximize the amount of paint we buy, without having as much left over. Ceilings are all painted a flat white, as well as trim if there is any. We keep a book with all of the specific finishes in it for each property, so if we need to replace anything or touch up paint, we know exactly what it is.

For flooring, we only use luxury vinyl plank (LVP), as it is 100 percent waterproof and very durable. We still put carpet in the bedroom(s) but use LVP everywhere else.

What I’ve Learned About Screening Tenants

In all of our properties, we have only had issues with tenants we have inherited. We have not had a single issue with any of the tenants we have placed. To date, we have immediately removed half the tenants we inherited when we purchased the property; the others generally move out once they see the new lease they have to sign and find out their rents are going up.

Related: Be Careful When Inheriting a Tenant

We screen tenants thoroughly. I will not show a tenant a property until I send them a packet, which contains a sample lease, tenant information, an application form, a schedule of fees, and a list of qualification requirements (such as income requirements). This packet also contains a list of items that will disqualify them, such as a past eviction. All of the items I include are legal qualification standards or disqualification standards in the state of Nebraska, and I only list a few of the main ones. Once a tenant has reviewed the items and is still interested, then I will set up a showing. This process has reduced the number of showings by probably two-thirds and allows me to focus more on those who have a chance at qualifying.

I then use RentPrep as part of the background screening process. However, I do thoroughly check references, and I also vet the references to confirm who they are. I confirm income, and any incomplete application is an automatic disqualification. I call every past rental address, and one question I ask is if they would rent to the tenant again. My main questions are whether the renters took care of the property and were neat, if they paid their rent on time, and if they had any issues with neighbors. I have not had any place refuse to give me this information, but I have had some request written consent from the previous tenant to give out this information.

We also Google their name and check Facebook and other social media sites. (It amazes me what people will put on social media.) If they pass all of this, they are offered the property to rent.

What I’ve Learned About Drafting Leases and Addenda

We do allow pets in our rentals with a limit of one or two, depending on the size of the rental. We also limit the rentals to two adults and their dependents. If pets are included, we charge a non-refundable pet fee of $250. In Nebraska, we are only allowed to charge up to 25 percent of the monthly rent as a pet deposit, so we do charge that, as well as a security deposit—both of which are refundable. We then charge a pet rent that varies from $25 per month to $75 per month, depending on the pet. We also have a pet lease that the renter must sign and abide by.

We charge one month’s rent and a security deposit up front, which is equal to one month’s rent. This must be paid by the move-in date. I have spoken with landlords who allow tenants to pay monthly on the deposit, and invariably they never get the entire deposit! All rents are deducted by auto-withdrawal on the first of each month. Therefore, the tenant must have a valid checking or savings account. If the ACH debit bounces, they are charged $30; if not paid by the 5th, they are charged an additional $50, then $10 per day after that for 10 days. If not paid by the 15th, we move to evict. We have never had an eviction, but I had one tenant (I inherited) who paid late the first two months we owned the property, also paying the late fees.

We do most of our rental agreements on a month-to-month basis. However, we do allow an option that gives them a break on the rental price for a year lease. We determine if we are going to allow them to sign a year lease or if they can only sign a month-to-month lease as part of the tenant screening. So far, the month-to-month lease has worked the best, because in our opinion, if they do not want to be there, we do not want them there.

We also provide a refrigerator, stove/oven, and washer/dryer in all of our units. In some, we have garbage disposals, dishwashers, and microwaves, but we do not put those items in if the property did not come with them. We also mow the yards, maintain the landscaping, and do the snow removal. We charge extra for all of this, maintaining the yards in the fashion we want. Tenants pay for all the utilities and agree to pay for watering the yard at the rate we set the sprinklers to run.

One other item of note is that we have each of our units inspected for cockroaches, fleas, and bedbugs upon move out, and $85 of the deposit is kept to pay for this. The new incoming tenant is then given a letter from the pest inspection company when they move in that there were no signs of any of those pests at the time of inspection.

eental agreement form with signing hand and keys and pen

What I’ve Learned About Maintaining Rental Properties

Our business plan is to own property with minimum maintenance. Often this has meant that we have to update a unit when purchased. However, while we spend more up front, it has worked out fine for us so far by minimizing maintenance issues down the road. Furthermore, we walk each unit two times a year and look for items that need to be fixed or maintained.

In all of our rentals, we do all maintenance of the furnace, AC, smoke detectors, yard, plumbing, snow removal, etc. We check the caulking in the showers; we check for holes in the walls; we check for slow-draining plumbing, leaky windows, leaking water heaters, or inefficient furnaces. We even check the condition of the appliances. It has been my experience that most renters will not take care of the property and yard as well as we do. If a tenant abuses the property, they are charged for it, but sometimes things happen and that is when I have no issues repairing things free of charge.

Related: The Key to Saving Money in Real Estate: Property Maintenance

We do all of this in order to maintain the property. We have built a reputation for having excellent rentals and maintaining a high standard of care. Instead of decreasing our renter pool this reputation has allowed us to maintain a shortlist of people who want to rent from us. It has also allowed us to maintain an occupancy rate over 96 percent in the last three years (including our micro duplex, which is a short-term rental). Doing regular maintenance has allowed us to save money for larger repairs down the road. One example is caulking around the shower/tub. By ensuring the caulking is in good shape and re-caulking if needed, it prevents water from getting behind the shower and rotting the wood.

We use all aluminum-clad doors and windows to prevent the need to repaint. We also ensure that the soffit and fascia is aluminum clad or vinyl. (We don’t put vinyl on, but if it has it when we bought it, we leave it.) This costs us more up front, but it saves us down the road in time and maintenance. In three years, I have had four phone calls to fix something.

A Disclaimer for New Investors

As I said at the beginning, this article is focused on the small investor or the new investor. I realize this hands-on approach may not be feasible if you have 50 rentals or hundreds of doors—at least not for one person. However, if your real estate portfolio consists of 10 or 20 or 30 doors or less, it can help you maximize your profits and minimize the time, over the long run, that you spend managing your portfolio. Being a small investor allows for the opportunity to turn your property into a high-quality investment and creates the ability to pick and choose with more prejudice the property you buy.

Just remember you will learn A LOT from your first purchase. You do not need to know it all to buy your first property. Just educate yourself enough to up the odds a little that you will be successful. It is OK to make mistakes, but try not to make the same ones over and over. Put a plan in place, follow it, amend it as needed, and you will be successful!

Do you have any pointers to add regarding the process of self-managing rentals? 

Leave them in a comment below!

Wayne Connell is a Deputy Sheriff by night and a budding real estate entrepreneur at all other times! In 2015, Wayne and his contractor brother teamed up to purchase and develop a real estate portfolio to supplement their retirement incomes. While Wayne has only been aggressively educating himself and pursuing real estate since 2015, he has owned two successful small businesses over the years and “dabbled” in real estate prior to this by buying and rehabbing the occasional property. Wayne and his brother currently own five duplex properties in small towns in central Nebraska. Wayne’s focus is on multi-family properties in rural areas, which he believes is an often-overlooked niche in the real estate investing world. Although he is far from being an expert, Wayne has more than a little experience locating and obtaining owner financed properties. Furthermore, he has used some creative techniques to maximize potential profits via owner financing. Wayne’s business model is focused on paying off properties quickly instead of utilizing the main stream system of cash flow. When not pursuing his property interests, he can often be found reading or growing his collection of antique books.

    Deeandrea Burgos
    Replied 4 months ago
    This was a great article!! Thanks for sharing your approach as a small investor.
    Wayne Connell Rental Property Investor from Hershey, NE
    Replied 4 months ago
    Deeandra, Thank you for your comments and good luck in your endeavors! Wayne
    Thomas Dougherty from New York
    Replied 4 months ago
    Good to hear! I'm self managing my rental properties now as well and your article is very encouraging!
    Wayne Connell Rental Property Investor from Hershey, NE
    Replied 4 months ago
    Thomas, Thanks for reading! I hope all goes well with your rentals! Wayne
    Cindy Larsen Rental Property Investor from Lakewood, WA
    Replied 4 months ago
    Wayne, Great article. We have a lot of the same ideas and processes in place, although you are farther down the path than I am. I bought most of my units last year, and have 18 units on 7 tax parcels. I am still remodeling several of my units, and dealing with shoddy remodeling practices on one of my properties (think flipper quality, including painting a problem bathtub with ruberized paint. fast forward one year. Ouch). But, on the units I have rented, I have increased rents by 25% to 30% so far, and have much better tenants in place. My major challenge is finding good contractors. Washington state does not have any standards for expertise in place. What do you use for rent collection? I have been using Cozy, but they got bought, and are now making changes that are costing me time to deal with. Thanks for the great article. Cindy
    Wayne Connell Rental Property Investor from Hershey, NE
    Replied 4 months ago
    Cindy, Thank you for reading! It sounds like we have similar ideas and plans. Good luck with your upgrades, it will be worth it in the end. I make all tenants have a valid checking or savings account and do an auto debit from their account on the first of each month. It saves me having to collect rents. If I can answer any questions please let me know. Wayne
    Nathan Richmond Rental Property Investor from Visalia, CA
    Replied 4 months ago
    I really enjoyed the article. I have 2 duplexes and 2 SFRs. I, like you, put money into the property up front in order to try to get ahead of any headaches in the future. It has served me well. Although I’m in California, I’d really be interested to see what your lease agreement looks like.
    Wayne Connell Rental Property Investor from Hershey, NE
    Replied 4 months ago
    Nathan, I appreciate your reading the article and your comments. If you send me your email address I can send you a copy of the lease that I use. Thanks! Wayne
    Kavian Anderson-Spells
    Replied 4 months ago
    Absolutely amazing article! You went into so much detail about your properties and how you maintain them. This will definitely be a reference article for me as I look for my first deal
    Wayne Connell Rental Property Investor from Hershey, NE
    Replied 4 months ago
    Kavian, I am glad the article is beneficial for you! Thank you for the comments. Wayne
    Rebecca Jackson Rental Property Investor from Dallas, TX
    Replied 4 months ago
    Great job! Definitely sounds like a lot of work though. Since we have busy FT careers, it’s not practical to provide good customer service with our schedules. We use professional management instead; managing the management company to create a lean six sigma approach using proper delegation channels. It sounds like you’ve taken on a second job as a property manager, and that’s fine if you enjoy doing that, but some investors prefer a more passive approach.
    Wayne Connell Rental Property Investor from Hershey, NE
    Replied 4 months ago
    Rebecca, Thank you for the comments, and I agree property management is not for everyone, but it is a good teacher. Good luck with your property investments! Wayne
    Jorge L Garcia from San Antonio, Texas
    Replied 4 months ago
    Great Article, you gave really useful action steps
    Wayne Connell Rental Property Investor from Hershey, NE
    Replied 4 months ago
    Jorge, Thank you for your kind words. Wayne
    Chris Richards
    Replied 4 months ago
    Great article. We’re in our early 50s and don’t have any properties yet but we are learning as much as we can before starting out and your article covers some great points. Thanks!
    Wayne Connell Rental Property Investor from Hershey, NE
    Replied 4 months ago
    Chris, I firmly believe it is never too late to invest in real estate. Good luck and if I can be of assistance please let me know. Wayne
    Damein Miller
    Replied 4 months ago
    Great article! Most real estate investors starting out do not have a property management, and the way you set it up, sounds good. Especially the auto debit and the keypad door locks! Good information thank you!
    Wayne Connell Rental Property Investor from Hershey, NE
    Replied 4 months ago
    Damein, I am glad I was unable to hire a property manager as I have learned many valuable lessons from managing property! Thank you for the comments. Wayne
    Jasmine Franchesca from houston
    Replied 4 months ago
    Well-noted! Thanks for sharing!
    Wayne Connell Rental Property Investor from Hershey, NE
    Replied 4 months ago
    Jasmine, Thank you for reading! Wayne
    Patrick Sugg from Houston, Texas
    Replied 4 months ago
    Great Article. Appreciate the details (which is so often missing in these articles) of what you found to work best for you.
    Wayne Connell Rental Property Investor from Hershey, NE
    Replied 4 months ago
    Patrick, Thank you so much for reading and the kind words. Wayne
    William Bowen
    Replied 4 months ago
    Very informative. I manage 5 SF properties and I continue to learn how to be more efficient as I go. I just started using the SmartKey technology which is more expensive but saves money on the backend. I also used different color paint in my properties and it has been more of a hassle then anything else. For now on, I plan to stick with one basic paint color. I have also developed a good relationship with a reliable handyman and an attorney that can assist with eviction matters if needed.
    Wayne Connell Rental Property Investor from Hershey, NE
    Replied 4 months ago
    William, We are also looking into using the smart key technology as it saves a lot over the push button locks. Relationships are important. I live in a rural area and have started buying and giving my team, (contractor, plumber and electrician) who prime ribs as a bonus now and then. My brother the contractor encourages it. It works wonders when you take the time to show them you appreciate their efforts and I have found it moves me to the top of their list.
    Deanna Opgenort Rental Property Investor from San Diego, CA
    Replied 3 months ago
    Kwickset makes a Smartkey push-button deadbolt lock -- best of both worlds. $70 for the cheap one, $100 for the nicer one, & I think $180 (?) for the "all the bells & whistles smartphone one. My rental has the $70 one, my home has the $100. ALL my other locks are Smartkey now- soo much easier to deal with a 15 sec re-key vs a lock change. Well worth the price. As an added bonus I've occasionally found them used at yardsales, or without keys at Habitat, & figured out from Youtube how to reset one without the key. It's a bit of a process, involving 2 long thin nails to take the thing apart, but it's a fun "tinker" project if you are a fix-it type person.
    Dave Rav from Summerville, SC
    Replied 3 months ago
    Great article. I second the small investor approach. I too will likely look to maintain a small-medium size portfolio. So 2-BR units huh? We've always been more for 3-4 BR units. It seems the majority of tenants seek this. Whenever we get calls, about 80% ask for the 3+ BR. What's been your experience?
    Wayne Connell Rental Property Investor from Hershey, NE
    Replied 3 months ago
    Dave, I appreciate you taking the time to read the article! We focus on multi-family properties so the 2/1 goes about the same rent as a 3/1. You may get up to $50 more for the 3/1 and in some cases $100 but the extra wear and tear to me is not worth it. I am not opposed to a 3/1 but for us and the money we want to spend a 2/1 is the sweet spot. If it is a SFH then a 3/1 or 4/1 will go up to $200 a month more, but they also cost about 50 grand more than a 2/1 SFH. For now the 2/1 multi-family property works for us, but I always tell my brother that I do not care what we do as long as it makes us money! Wayne
    Derik Lewis
    Replied 3 months ago
    Fantastic article Wayne, thanks for sharing all your thoughts and ideas! Would you mind sharing which accounting and property management software you are using to self-mangage your investments? Thanks! Derik
    Wayne Connell Rental Property Investor from Hershey, NE
    Replied 3 months ago
    Derik, We use Quick Books for our accounting software and Google to keep track of maintenance. I have not really found any software that does exactly what I want it to do. They always seem to add a bunch of features I do not want and it seems to just muddy the water so to speak. My wife is an IT person and has an accounting background so she does most of the computer work for me! Thanks so much for reading and commenting. Wayne
    Paul Schultz from Madison, WI
    Replied 3 months ago
    Great article Wayne. Thank you for sharing your system!! I soon will be purchasing my first rental property and really like the process you follow to manage your properties. I will be filing this article for future examples!
    Wayne Connell Rental Property Investor from Hershey, NE
    Replied 3 months ago
    Paul, I hope your first purchase is successful beyond anything you expected! Thank you for reading and if I can help at all please don't hesitate to ask. Wayne
    Evan Stump
    Replied 3 months ago
    loved the article I'm starting a very similar journey.
    Wayne Connell Rental Property Investor from Hershey, NE
    Replied 3 months ago
    Evan, Good luck! I sent the paperwork you requested so if you do not get it let me know. Thanks a bunch for taking the time to read the article. Wayne
    Shane Humes from Wadsworth, OH
    Replied 3 months ago
    Thank you for your great insights. I hope to have a process in place as well thought out as yours. My partner and I are fixing up our first rental, and this is very good information for us. I would greatly appreciate it if you would send me your packet and the and the lease agreement. Also, how do you advertise your rental? Thanks!
    Wayne Connell Rental Property Investor from Hershey, NE
    Replied 3 months ago
    Shane, Good luck with your property! I advertise via Craigslist, Zillow, FaceBook and a few local area websites. I do not advertise in the newspaper. Occasionally, I will put a sign in the yard but that depends on the property location. I would be happy to send you the packet of information I send out that includes the leases if you would send me your email address. Thank you for taking the time to read the article! Wayne
    Alice Chau from Newark, California
    Replied 3 months ago
    Thank you for posting this! This is super helpful and comprehensive. Excellent article for small and new investors.
    Wayne Connell Rental Property Investor from Hershey, NE
    Replied 3 months ago
    Alice, I appreciate you taking the time to read the article and comment! Wayne
    Marcellus P McKinley
    Replied 3 months ago
    Hey Wayne, This article was incredible. Will be definitely be following your articles in the future. it really put a lot of things into perspective and has helped me with my understanding of what to provide when I get my first property. is there anyway you could upload your applicant packet and lease to the Fileshare? that would be awesome!
    Wayne Connell Rental Property Investor from Hershey, NE
    Replied 3 months ago
    Marcellus, Thank you for reading and I appreciate you kind words! I must apologize in advance as I am not sure what the fileshare you are referring to is. I am not real good with computers, so if you can point me in the right direction I can have my wife, (she is in IT), do it. Otherwise I can send it to you by email if you send me your address. Good luck with real estate investing! Wayne
    Regina Barnes from Atlanta, GA
    Replied 3 months ago
    Very detailed. Full of quality information. Thanks!
    Wayne Connell Rental Property Investor from Hershey, NE
    Replied 3 months ago
    Regina, Thank you for reading! Wayne
    Toan Le Investor from Lincoln, Nebraska
    Replied 3 months ago
    Where are your rental properties located in Nebraska? I really want to hang out to learn more from you .Thanks for sharing your expertise!
    Wayne Connell Rental Property Investor from Hershey, NE
    Replied 3 months ago
    Toan, I am located just west of North Platte on Interstate 80. About three hours west of Lincoln. Feel free to contact me if you want to discuss real estate. Thanks so much for reading and commenting! Wayne
    Wayne Connell Rental Property Investor from Hershey, NE
    Replied 3 months ago
    I uploaded the packet I send out to prospective tenants to the BiggerPockets "File Place" under "Tools" on the home page. If you want to contact me directly please send me an email to my BiggerPockets account. Thanks!! Wayne
    Cynthia Harrison
    Replied 3 months ago
    WOW! Full of so much info! I'm just beginning on this side of RE in KS after being a RE Agent in a small town in Western Upstate NY many years ago. Due to my age, I'm planning on hiring a management company but I still can use all of your info and will be doing exactly that! Thank you so much for sharing and saving me a small fortune!
    Wayne Connell Rental Property Investor from Hershey, NE
    Replied 3 months ago
    Cynthia, I do appreciate you taking time to read my article, I hope it helps! Good luck in your real estate endeavors! I am happy to TRY to answer any questions you may have. Wayne
    Spencer Grassie Rental Property Investor from Providence RI and Boston, MA
    Replied 3 months ago
    Terrific read! Thanks for sharing your story. The materials that you uploaded to FilePlace are saved under which name exactly?
    Wayne Connell Rental Property Investor from Hershey, NE
    Replied 3 months ago
    Spencer, I am glad you appreciated the article! The info I uploaded is just what I use and it can be tailored to anyone's specific needs. I hope it helps. Thank you for reading. Wayne
    Spencer Grassie Rental Property Investor from Providence RI and Boston, MA
    Replied 3 months ago
    Never mind. I was able to locate them!
    Dustin Nygard from El Paso, Tx
    Replied 3 months ago
    I loved the article Wayne. My wife and I just closed on our first house that we will move into and rent out the 1 bedroom one bathroom house in the back of the lot. I really liked your article. It gave me great things to implement. I will definitely go over this article with my wife. Thanks!
    Wayne Connell Rental Property Investor from Hershey, NE
    Replied 3 months ago
    Dustin, I am glad the article was beneficial to you, thanks for reading it! Good luck with your rental, it is a rewarding experience! If I can be of any service to you please do not hesitate to let me know. Wayne
    Deryk Harper Residential Real Estate Broker from Alpharetta, Georgia
    Replied 3 months ago
    Hi Wayne, Great article. As an investor, and property management broker, we use a lot of the same tools/systems you do ( 1 or 2 primary paint colors, preventative maintenance, LOVE LVP flooring, Kwikset Smart Locks ( we can rekey an entire house in under 15 minutes and recycle the keys too)). I like the idea of the package you send tenants prior to scheduling a showing. Yours is a little more detailed. I think we will add the list of fees and reasons for disqualification in clear separate pages to be sure prospects understand this up front. Also like how you handle pets. Deposit/non-refundable fee & ongoing pet rent. On that note I might suggest a new site we stumbled on for pet screening called petscreening.com. Just adds another layer of risk management at no expense to the investor. Applicants pay a small fee to screen their pets. Then they also have access to their pet info 24/7 from the site as a side benefit. What I like best is the site also screens ESAs ( emotional support animals) and service animals with no fees to anyone for this part of screening. This has helped us weed out those applicants using the fraudulent online support animal certificates to try and sneak pets into the home without paying pet fees/rent. We even send pet screening link to applicants who do not have pets, again this part is free to applicants, as a way to ensure they understand the rules on pets should they decide they want one in the future. Full disclosure I have no financial interest in this service and do not benefit by referring it to others. Thanks again for taking the time to share so much useful information. Wishing you the best in your real estate adventures. Deryk
    Wayne Connell Rental Property Investor from Hershey, NE
    Replied 3 months ago
    Deryk, Thanks so much for the comments, I will definitely check into the pet screening website. I have not ran into any service animal situation yet but I am certain I will and I like the idea of being able to verify if it is a legit emotional support animal. I am in law enforcement so I have a tendency to think everyone is lying to me! I am glad the article was helpful even if only to a small degree. I am trying to get into property management (just got my real estate license in April) so if you have any pointers please feel free to share them! Wayne
    Jennifer Salcedo
    Replied 3 months ago
    Thank you for sharing, great insights - Jenn from Fort Worth, TX
    Wayne Connell Rental Property Investor from Hershey, NE
    Replied 3 months ago
    Jennifer, Thank you for your comment and for reading! Wayne
    Dakota Coburn Rental Property Investor
    Replied 3 months ago
    This is great. I am in the process of rehabbing my first multi-family and this is timely advise. Thank you
    Wayne Connell Rental Property Investor from Hershey, NE
    Replied 3 months ago
    Dakota, I am glad the article could be of some help. Thank you for reading the article! Wayne
    Clint Cooper
    Replied 3 months ago
    Wayne great article!!!!!!!! As a new investor I took away some great points, specifically on the rental agreements and pet fees. One question I had is what do you use to collect rents? You mention ACH scheduled deposits. Is this just setup a bill pay on their side to your account?
    Wayne Connell Rental Property Investor from Hershey, NE
    Replied 3 months ago
    Clint, Thank you for the kind comments and for taking time out to read my article! I have an account set up with our bank that allows me to enter their account information in order to withdraw the money directly from their account. It is similar to a bill pay but they have nothing to do with it. At my bank it is a business type account and costs me about $5 to $7 per transaction. I like it as once the information is entered it takes about one minute a month to check mark the box to withdraw the funds. I used to give them our account information and have them do a "bill pay" type of transaction but it still gives them control over when it is done. Hope that answers your question. Wayne
    Clint Cooper
    Replied 3 months ago
    Thanks Wayne, I will look into that!
    Megan E Boizot
    Replied 3 months ago
    Wayne, what an excellent idea to provide a packet initially for tenant screening. This can eliminate many issues before the start of any lease. I found your article very helpful and insightful!
    Wayne Connell Rental Property Investor from Hershey, NE
    Replied 3 months ago
    Megan, Thank you for the comments. The packet really helps weed out those who do not qualify. Most of the times when I advertise a property there is still someone living in it. Short of doing an open house or something similar it really helps pare down the showings to those who can, or believe they can qualify. I am grateful you took the time to read the article. Wayne
    Fred Cannon Rental Property Investor from St Augustine, FL
    Replied 3 months ago
    Great article for us small investors. I have 7 units, 5 condos and two houses. Both have advantages. Condos are super easy and the monthly HOA is not bad considering the outside of the uniit and the grounds are taken care up and the insurance is much less that a house. Plus the tenant usually has great amenities like a pool tennis court etc. would have to do a serious cost analysis to compared a house to a condo. I agree about the inherited tenant, did that once and never again. To be a successful and good landlord you need a team of Mr Fixit’s that do quality work and bump you to next in line after you have used them a few times. Collecting rent I use an App called Venmo. It’s free and very easy to use. Almost a direct transfer just a one day lag. Venmo is owned by PayPal but has no fees Thanks for all your advice. I need to read your writing about 3 more times and take some notes.
    Joseph Lee Rental Property Investor from Minneapolis, MN
    Replied 3 months ago
    I'd advise reading up a bit on the downfalls of using Venmo for business transactions such as rental collections. There are really no protections for either the tenant or the landlord and if you're abiding by the terms of use, you have to pay a fee for business transactions. If you really want to do online payments without the other property-management functions that generally come with it, I'd look at PayPal (and abide by the rules and call them business transactions).
    Wayne Connell Rental Property Investor from Hershey, NE
    Replied 3 months ago
    Fred, Interesting comments. We really do not have a lot of Condo's here, we are mostly a rural area. I do see the appeal based upon what you have said. Also, I will check into that app that you use to collect rents, it sounds like it has possibilities. Thank you for reading, and for the tips! Best of luck with your real estate investments! Wayne
    Sha Harris Rental Property Investor from Birmingham, AL
    Replied 3 months ago
    Great article! Thanks for sharing.
    Wayne Connell Rental Property Investor from Hershey, NE
    Replied 3 months ago
    Sha, Thanks so much for taking the time to read my article! Wayne
    Edem Dosseh from Omaha, NE
    Replied 3 months ago
    Great article, Wayne. This is was very informative. I would love to direct message you and learn so much more from you. I live in Omaha, NE and trying to get into the real estate but do it the right way this time. I partnered with a friend on a rental for the past 3 years and have not had good tenants and ended up just selling because of that and other business goals mismatch. Our process was obviously not tuned up like yours as well. I live in Omaha, NE so I'm glad to see some fellow Husker on here :D
    Wayne Connell Rental Property Investor from Hershey, NE
    Replied 3 months ago
    Edem, I would be happy to talk with you! Please send me a message through my BiggerPockets account and we can go from there. I hope you get back in the "game" soon! Thanks so much for reading and I look forward to conversing with you. GO BIG RED!!!! Wayne
    Michael High from Fort Lauderdale, FL
    Replied 3 months ago
    Incredible article Wayne, provides so much insight into the process. Currently under contract on my first multi-family and quickly learning that you don’t know what you don’t know until it happens to you. Planning on implementing as many systems as possible upfront to automate the management side of it. Keep up the great work!
    Wayne Connell Rental Property Investor from Hershey, NE
    Replied 3 months ago
    Michael, Thank you and good luck! It is exciting starting out and if done correctly, the excitement continues. I appreciate you taking the time to read my article! Wayne
    Rachel Foster Rental Property Investor from Chicago, IL
    Replied 3 months ago
    That's awesome! I hired property manager to help me with my rental properties before but now I'm using software and manage them by myself. When self-managing, using a software to help is super important. The software now I use is Tellus App. I was recommended by one of my landlord friends. I let them to list one property for me and it seems they posted it to more than 10 websites and then I received a lot of tenant leads. I also did screening, and my tenants pay me through that app now. It's easy to manage everything from my phone since I only have a small units of properties. Cheers on your success and keep it up!
    Wayne Connell Rental Property Investor from Hershey, NE
    Replied 3 months ago
    Rachel, That is an excellent tip and I will check into that app. This is what I love about this forum, I learn something new or a better way almost every day! Thanks a bunch for reading and good luck in your real estate venture. Wayne
    Sandy Sanders
    Replied 3 months ago
    Excellent article Wayne! I loved all the useful information. Clever on the pest inspection upon move out and the cost for this deducted from the security dep. Also letter from inspection company given to the new tenants. Auto debit from tenants accounts each month, very good way to handle. Thanks for providing so many valuable tips! :) .
    Wayne Connell Rental Property Investor from Hershey, NE
    Replied 3 months ago
    Sandy, I started doing the pest inspection when my niece moved into a new apartment at college and found out the place had bed bugs! I do not want that reputation as a landlord. I am glad you found some useful information in the article. Thank you for reading! Wayne
    Andrew Syrios Residential Real Estate Investor from Kansas City, Missouri
    Replied 3 months ago
    Great article Wayne!
    Wayne Connell Rental Property Investor from Hershey, NE
    Replied 3 months ago
    Andrew, Thank you so much for taking the time to read my article and for commenting! Wayne
    Brendan Connolly from Bristol, Connecticut
    Replied 3 months ago
    Wayne, you sound like a guy with good vision. I like your style and great article with lots of good tips. The pest inspection idea is dynamic. I've never had issues with pests but I think I will incorporate that one. I have a 4 family and single family in our local area. I have my eyes on a few other multiple families but with young kids/wife/etc it's challenging to find the time and effort. I work in L.E. as well in a city of 80,000 in CT, so I've been trying to work some angles on homes that may work well for my situation where I clock in. You know networking so to speak. I believe in relationships that can blossom into a new tenant or investor partner. The goal is to keep rolling forward with a blanket of investments for when I retire or change gears in 11 more years (25 to get the lotto ticket). Do you advise people on your occupation or do you stay real estate professional oriented? Just curious!! I only tell mine if they know someone that knows me or whatever the case. It's worked out well for me. Just a little more information...We have tenants deposit money in a local bank so it puts the reponsibility on them and forces them to communicate with me if something comes up financially. I like to offer trust up front until the give me a reason otherwise. If you have the chance I'd like to hear how you progressed forward and purchased the 2nd, 3rd, etc properties. I'm a bit....stuck. I like how detail oriented you are with your system. I need to get my plan on track. Do you used ZILLOW rental manager or any apps? Ok, great article, gotta run working a double tomorrow so I can scope out some possibilities and make a difference haha. Stay safe Dep. Brendan C.
    Wayne Connell Rental Property Investor from Hershey, NE
    Replied 3 months ago
    Brendan, Thanks for the comments, and for reading! I do not tell renters or potential renters my occupation, but I do not hide it from them either. Most know eventually but I do not put it out there. The main reason I use the auto withdrawal from their account is I do not want the renter to control when I get paid. I tell people up front, before they sign the lease, that I am a stickler on three things, follow the lease, take care of the property and pay your rent on time. I explain that I have bills to pay and that if they do not pay me on time then I have to pay my bills out of my own pocket instead of from rent. As I mentioned, the only issue I have ever had with late rent is from a renter I inherited. I firmly believe in communication and being blunt with them from the get go. I am very polite but I am direct about what I expect. I do not use Zillow rental manager or any other apps as management tools. I use Google calendars to keep track of when maintenance is due and I have a spread sheet that logs what maintenance I have done. Most of the programs I have found have too many bells and whistles for me as I just want the basics (for now). I would be happy to discuss my process for how we purchased our 3rd, 4th and 5th properties. Just send me a message via my BiggerPockets account or give my our email address and I will send you an email. I have 5 more years to get to 25 and then I am pulling the plug. The job has changed a lot in just the last 20 years and I am getting to old to be fighting guys 25 years younger than me and in much better shape! Stay safe and always watch your back! Wayne
    Andrew Lee Rental Property Investor from Cleveland, TN
    Replied 3 months ago
    Super informative article, Wayne, thanks so much--I read every word and learned so much practical wisdom. I've had a duplex for 8 years with success, and now we're looking to expand. I also started in my 40's, and I am a college professor by day. I appreciate your candid and helpful description of what's worked for you, and I'll definitely use these tips. Thanks again!
    Wayne Connell Rental Property Investor from Hershey, NE
    Replied 3 months ago
    Andrew, I am happy that you got something out of the article that may assist you in future endeavors. Thank you so much for reading the article and commenting on it! Good luck and if I can be of further assistance please do not hesitate to contact me. Wayne
    Erika Franklin
    Replied 3 months ago
    Very informative, thanks for sharing!
    Wayne Connell Rental Property Investor from Hershey, NE
    Replied 3 months ago
    Erika, Thanks so much for taking the time to read the article and commenting! Wayne
    Almantas Buikus
    Replied 3 months ago
    Thank you Wayne for sharing your experience! Almost finished rehabbing my first rental condo. Would you mind emailing me an example of this packet and how you go about presenting it to the prospective tenant at [email protected] ? That would help me a lot. Thank you in advance!
    Wayne Connell Rental Property Investor from Hershey, NE
    Replied 3 months ago
    Almantas, I do appreciate you taking the time to read my article as well as commenting! Good luck with your project, there will be ups and downs but hang in there. I did send you an email with the information you requested. If you need something further please do not hesitate to email me or contact me through my BiggerPockets account. Wayne
    Dawn Harris
    Replied 3 months ago
    Thanks Wayne for tour insight and details. We are also starting out with duplexes. Business plan is to buy 2-3 per year. Appreciate your experience.
    Wayne Connell Rental Property Investor from Hershey, NE
    Replied 3 months ago
    Dawn, I think having a business plan is always a plus to building up a business correctly. I am sure there are pros and cons to every type of property but I like a duplex as a starter investment. As we grow we will likely branch out into other types of property but our duplex's are the foundation. Thanks a lot for reading as well as the comments. Good luck with your real estate journey. Wayne