Success as a landlord doesn’t come overnight. Effective landlords with the most lucrative tenancies create their success by developing certain habits.
Develop methods of doing things that can help you organize time better, streamline your business operations, and build a solid reputation. In most cases, developing good daily habits as a property manager saves you money and increases rental income.
Of course, to make a rental property profitable, you need to follow standard practices for managing any rental property. Effective property management includes screening tenants, running criminal background checks, checking rental history, and getting credit reports.
If you are a first-time landlord, these processes are crucial to your success. It’s best to learn from the habits of other successful property managers. Here’s what successful landlords do to boost their revenue, save time, and build a strong reputation in the rental market.
1. Make communication key
Communication is the basis of any business. As a landlord, you need to communicate effectively and regularly with your tenants. This means staying up to date with maintenance requests, late rent notifications, and lease renewals.
Additionally, managing properties means having effective communication with contractors, property inspectors, and local government agencies.
To make their tasks easier, successful landlords create templates for all their documents. One way to do this is via property management software. Everything from collecting rent to e-signing lease agreements or managing maintenance is possible digitally thanks to new technology.
2. Use technology to streamline operations
Getting into the habit of using the latest technology can save time, resources, and money. Thanks to technology, landlords no longer have to be burdened with a ton of paperwork. In fact, there is virtually no landlord-related task that you can’t do using technology.
- Rent collection apps. Encourage your tenants to pay rent electronically rather than by check. You will find it easier to keep track of rental payments and send late rent reminders.
- Virtual showings. Digital tools can make virtual showings easy. For example, you could record a walkthrough of your rental property for potential tenants. Alternatively, an electronic key safe with remote access can allow tenants to view properties without you being there. Some tech-savvy landlords arrange for self-guided, 3D virtual apartment tours.
- Cloud tech tools. Several tech tools help landlords stay organized and collaborate with others. For example, Google Docs and Microsoft OneDrive are excellent for document storage. Survey Monkey is ideal for creating resident satisfaction surveys. Trello is perfect for tracking tasks and project management.
3. Establish procedures for recurring tasks
One of the most effective habits for landlords is creating processes for recurring tasks. The day-to-day life of a landlord usually involves tasks that keep repeating. For example, tenant screening, posting vacancies, moving tenants in or out, or background checks typically require doing the same things. It’s a good idea to have checklists or use automated tools to care for repetitive tasks.
- Use a rent collection app to send automatic reminders to tenants for rent payments.
- The app can also automatically calculate late fees if a tenant forgets to pay rent.
- Have a tenant onboarding checklist.
- Use property management software that processes rental applications.
- Set calendar reminders for regular or scheduled property maintenance.
- Have a step-by-step process to deal with emergencies.
4. Be proactive
It’s never a good idea to wait until something breaks before you fix it. The practice of being proactive concerning property maintenance, communication with tenants, and rent collection will save you time and money.
- Require that all tenants have renters insurance.
- Have a maintenance schedule to carry out regular inspections.
- Encourage tenants to set up automatic rental payments. If they don’t, send reminders before rent is due.
- Send surveys to tenants to get feedback and insights on how to improve your services.
5. Build a network of trusted professionals
Whether you only own one rental unit or have a multifamily dwelling, having a list of trusted contractors will help save you time and money. If something breaks, there’s a leak, or another emergency happens, knowing who to call in the middle of the night can save you a major headache.
The five essential professionals you need in your network are an electrician, plumber, roofer, carpenter, and plumber. It’s also worth ensuring that you have an attorney, real estate agent, and trusted accountant in your network.
Being a landlord can be fun—if you do it right
No matter how great you are at finding good rental property deals, you could lose everything if you don’t manage your properties correctly. Being a landlord doesn’t have to mean middle-of-the-night phone calls, costly evictions, or daily frustrations with ungrateful tenants.
6. Consistently stick to ethical standards
An essential habit that helps you build a reputation as a fair landlord is always sticking to high ethical standards. Landlords are required to treat everyone fairly without showing signs of bias. In all cases, you are bound by the Fair Housing Act, which prohibits any discrimination.
For example, being quick to evict tenants from one ethnic background but being lenient with other tenants could land you in trouble with the law. Something as simple as waiving late fees for one tenant and requiring other tenants to pay them could become problematic.
Consistency will not only help keep you out of court, but you’ll also build a reputation for fairness.
7. Set long-term goals for growth
To continue as a successful landlord, keep the habit of setting long-term goals. It can be easy to “rest on your laurels” because you enjoy some success now. But where do you want your business to be in two, three, or five years?
For example, do you want to attract a better class of tenants to your rentals? Are you trying to attain financial freedom via your investment properties? If so, goals will help you realize your dreams.
8. Focus on a niche
Another excellent habit for enjoying success as a landlord is focusing on a niche. Without violating the Fair Housing Act, you can develop a profitable niche in the rental housing market.
For example, what about a property-related niche? This could be golf course communities, retirement communities, resort housing, or historic homes. Or you could allow pets in your rentals as standard to attract a wider audience. Additionally, you could fit your rentals out with the latest smart technology to attract higher-paying professionals.