Investing in Merced rental properties is an excellent way to build wealth. But then again, even if this is your first experience as a landlord, you probably already know that rental property owners every so often has to deal with problems. Stuff like emergency repairs, property damage, and late rental payments just come with the territory. Through proper preparation and tenant screening can help reduce some issues, problems can still materialize anyway. Knowing what the five most common issues that a new landlord faces can help you be prepared to handle them with ease.
1. Payment Issues
Occasionally your tenants may pay their rent late or not at all. You need to have late fees detailed in your lease documents, but it can be a hassle to charge and then collect on those fees. The loss of income from late or missing rent payments can also quickly turn your Merced rental property into a huge cash drain. This is especially true because the eviction process, should it be essential, can take anywhere from one to three months. The best way to avoid such problems is to have a very detailed tenant screening process. Be sure to do a background check, credit check, and reference check on every applicant. One more way to encourage timely rental payments is to arrange an online payment method. Tenants enjoy the convenience of paying their rent and other bills online, and funds are often available to you faster as well.
As a Merced property owner, your income relies on occupancy. If you find that your rental property is sitting empty for months at a time, that can quickly become a very expensive problem. You may even find yourself making poor decisions or renting to unqualified tenants in an attempt to balance your cash flows. If finding tenants has become a challenge, it’s important to double-check everything from your rental rate to your advertising. Your rental rate should be based on a detailed assessment of your local market. If your rate is too high, that could lead to longer vacancies. Likewise, you need to make sure that your advertising is reaching your target renter demographic. Nowadays, you need to have your rental property advertised online and on social media, not to mention any other appropriate locations.
3. High Turnover
High turnover can be an equally expensive problem. Every time you need to find and screen a new tenant, you’re spending money instead of earning profits. If you’re starting as a new landlord and your tenants keep leaving, it’s time to do a little investigating. While high turnover could be due to outside forces like the local market or economy, in other cases, your tenants might leave for reasons a little closer to home. If you haven’t already, make sure that your rental property is in good condition and that necessary repairs and maintenance are being done regularly. It’s also an excellent idea to step up your communication with your tenants. Frequent positive interactions can have a big impact on tenant retention and help encourage your tenants to tell you the real reason they left. You can then address the problem directly.
4. Legal Compliance
As a landlord, you need to take care to operate your rental property in compliance with both federal and local laws. Now and then, this can prove to be difficult. You may accidentally violate tenant-landlord laws without even realizing it. To avoid getting yourself into legal trouble, make sure that you have a thorough understanding of the federal Fair Housing Act and local regulations as well. Even one mistake could lead to an expensive, yet preventable, legal mess.
5. Property Maintenance
Staying up-to-date on property maintenance can be both time-consuming and difficult to manage. This is because property maintenance involves both routine tasks as well as individual repair items. If you plan to do all of your property maintenance yourself, you need to have a system in place or risk losing your tenant – or worse. If you’re just getting started, take some time to plan out a property maintenance schedule for the entire year. If needed, learn more about how to carry out each property maintenance task as thoroughly but as efficiently as possible. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, consider hiring a property management company to do it for you. Due to their relationships with local service providers, a professional management company can often complete both routine maintenance and repairs for far less than you can. Either way, good property maintenance can help you avoid larger, more expensive repairs down the road.
While these five problems are the most common ones that a new landlord faces, there may be other issues that come up. Hiring a property management company like Real Property Management Valley Wide can help you eliminate all of these issues as well as increase your return on investment. You can contact us online to learn more. However, if you do plan on managing your properties on your own, the most important thing to remember is to use the best practices of the industry and to keep learning all you can about how to succeed as a Merced rental property investor. In this manner, your landlord skills will continue to improve the longer you own your properties.
We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.