Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe

At Rental Services we work with lots of first time investment property owners.  Most have little or no experience when it comes to property management.  This leads to several mistakes that can cost a new property owner time and money.

One of the most common mistakes that many new landlords make is not screening all of the residents that move into the rental property.  Just because one person makes enough money to pay the rent doesn’t mean you don’t need to screen the other occupants.  If you don’t check everyone I guarantee you will eventually have problems with registered sex offenders and convicted felons moving in as occupants.

Another problem is using the wrong lease agreement or not using one at all.  Make sure you have the applicants sign a lease before they move-in.  Just like resident screening, make sure everyone who lives at the property and is over the age of eighteen signs the lease.  Many states have specific laws that govern the lease.  Make sure the lease you’re using covers the specific laws for your state.  If you’re not sure many local apartment associations will provide the agreements for a small fee.

The move-in and move-out check list is often skipped by new landlords.  If you don’t use this form you’re shooting yourself in the foot.  Documenting the condition in writing when your renters move-in and after they move-out makes it easy to calculate damages and if you have to go to court, always impresses the judge.

If you’re new to property management I recommend taking a property management class.  Most states have trade organizations that offer support to property owners.  Local trade associations can help you build a solid foundation for managing your investment properties.