My wife and I are currently trying to finalize a deal on purchasing a duplex in Lansing, Michigan (not East Lansing). It is our first investment property and we will owner occupy one side and rent out the other. One side is vacant and the other side is occupied and the renters have approximately one month to move after closing. In our contract, the seller will transfer the current lease and security deposit to us upon closing. I have several questions and any answers, comments or helpful advice is greatly appreciated.
1.) What is the best way to screen tenants? (we're extremely concerned about this since we'll be living next to them)
2.) Does anyone recommend getting some type of legal help in drafting a lease?
3.) Any areas in Lansing, MI to avoid? (ie bad tenants, high crime)
4.) Are there any local real estate groups in Lansing?
5.) Since it is our first rental, how long should we wait before we look for a new tenant? (once we verify lease, once current tenant moves, after all repairs are done)
Again any input/advice is greatly appreciated!
To answer a few of your questions, I would seek legal help for my first lease, but I know not everyone does. I would say there are definitely areas around Lansing to avoid, but that is based on my comfort level of where I would want to live and where I would want to hold properties. There are plenty of people who hold properties in areas that I would not (for reasons you mentioned above), so I guess it comes down to both the numbers and your sense of comfort. Lansing has many pockets, both good and bad, so it really depends on where you're at. Check out crime maps to help get a sense for what goes on and drive around to get a feel for these areas. And yes, there is a local rei group - check out meetup.com and look for real estate in Lansing. They meet monthly at Tripper's. There is also a large group in Ann Arbor and one in the Grand Rapids area. Hope this helps.
Thanks! @Emily B.
It really does help. Since we're not in a group at this point, we've just been reading a lot of information and it just helps to get information from others who either have been in our shoes or are currently in them!
Checkout the ultimate guide to screening tenants. There are also some really good podcasts that deal with screening tenants.
Do listen to this podcast. It's excellent.
Hello Aaron, congrats on pursuing your 1st deal! No advice on Lansing, but you should start marketing it for rent immediately when current tenants are not renewing, and just note when it will be available. It should be in your lease that you are allowed to enter the property with appropriate notice so you are able to show it before they even move out. Best of luck.
I would be careful in Lansing. I spoke to my property manager recently and she mentioned that she won't even take on a 2 bedroom house unless it iffier an existing client, the market is flooded with them and they are hard to rent.
Hopefully you have a prime location on unique property.
I did get a chance to read the tenant screening guide. Which tenant screening service do you recommend? Also, I'm going to check out that podcast today, it has a very interesting title.
Thanks! @Jeffrey Greenhow
It's a duplex with 3 beds, 1 full, and 1 half bath on each side. It's located in what appears to be a very tenant heavy neighborhood. Being new to REI, I'm still trying to learn the nuances of surveying the demand for certain areas.
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