I work with a lot of investors, seasoned as well as newbies, and I learn a great deal from both. But, I find that regardless of how long you've been in real estate, there's always more to learn and ways to get better. As I have been helping investors, I’ve noticed there are some helpful tools for owners of rental property that many aren’t utilizing. So, using my own experience as an investor as well as information I’ve gathered as an agent (plus my husband’s knowledge as a former property manager), I came up with a list of my Top 5 Tips for Landlords!

  1. Great Photos! You can get professional quality photos for less than $200 and they are worth every penny! They will help you get higher rents, and your rental listings will stand out and lease faster.

  2. Maximum 12 Month Lease! Trust me on this one. It may be tempting to have a longer-term lease. But life changes and other opportunities can arise, and you want the flexibility to sell without having to pay a tenant to move out. Also, if you happen to get bad tenants, you want the option to get new ones after the year is over.

  3. Separate Bank Accounts! Tracking the financials for a property can be a headache, especially if you aren't using a property manager. To keep all expenses and income separate from other properties and easily track it all (very handy at tax time!), I recommend having a separate account for each of your properties.

  4. Reserves! Speaking of bank accounts... Before you even get your first tenant in the door, you should have reserves in the account for the property. This helps to safeguard you from having vacancies or major repairs impact your lifestyle. I recommend at least 3 months (preferably 6) worth of mortgage payments in the account to start. This will help take a lot of the stress out of owning a rental.

  5. Vendor List! There will inevitably be something that goes wrong with your property, and you need to know who to call. Have a list of vendors (with several options for each type of service provider) so, when the time comes, you will know who to call. HERE is a list of vendors for the Treasure Valley recommended by me and other agents in our office who have used them.

By Anna Strausbaugh

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