Investing in real estate can be a great way to earn passive income and build wealth. But it also comes with a lot of risk. Whether you’ve been a landlord for years or you’re just starting out, you have likely heard some terrible horror stories about awful tenants or impossible situations.
We’d like to address some common landlord fears, and offer some sensible strategies that will help you avoid the worst case scenarios.
Terrible Tenants Who Don’t Pay Rent
One of the most common landlord fears we hear about is anxiety that a tenant won’t pay rent. Your cash flow and your ROI depend on consistent rental payments, not to mention your own obligations such as your mortgage, insurance, and tax payments. You may have heard horror stories about having to chase down late rent every month or moving to evict a tenant because months have gone by and a landlord still hasn’t been paid.
This is an understandable fear, but one that can usually be avoided. If you have a strong tenant screening process, you can be sure you’re only placing good tenants with a history of paying rent on time. Verify income to ensure they earn enough to afford the rent. Talk to current and former landlords and ask about whether rent was paid on-time. Your lease needs an enforceable rent collection policy. Bad things can happen to good tenants and you might have a late payment once in a while. But, with a good screening process, it shouldn’t be common.
Finding Property Damage after Move-Out
Another horror story you might have heard is the landlord who walks into the home after a tenant has moved out, only to find devastating damage that’s been left behind. Large holes in the walls, doors dangling from their hinges, appliances that were abused and misused, yards dug up by what would appear to be a pack of feral hogs, and floors that are scratched and warped are all some of the terrible things that landlords might worry about. There may be property damage left behind after a tenant moves out, but it is rarely more than the security deposit you collect.
Again – tenant screening can help mitigate this risk. Another tool is the property inspection. Even if your tenant never requests maintenance or has a repair need, make an appointment to get inside the home for an inspection at least once a year. This is the best way to look for unreported maintenance and check for lease violations. At Real Estate Experts, we inspect all of our properties on a regular basis; we inspect the inside monthly and the outside quarterly. Protecting your asset is a key part of our mission.
There Weren’t Supposed to Be Pets
Fearing pets is another thing that’s common among landlords. They don’t want to risk the damage and the potential liability of allowing pets in the property. What you need to understand is that more than half of the tenants in Chapel Hill have at least one pet. So, not allowing pets may extend your vacancy.
It might also encourage people to sneak pets into your property. If you say no pets and you discover that a pet is, in fact, living in your home, you’ll have two choices. You can either screen the animal, collect a pet fee and maybe even pet rent, and go on with the tenancy; or, you can insist that your tenant get rid of the animal to come back into lease compliance. We always collect an appropriate pet fee and we find that tenants with pets take excellent care of our rental properties.
We recommend you allow pets so that you don’t have to worry about tenants bringing unauthorized pets into your property. There’s rarely damage that exceeds the amount of the security deposit and your pet fee. At Real Estate Experts, we make sure your asset is protected.
Talk to us about your other fears, and we’d be happy to help you come up with creative solutions and reliable ways to avoid bad situations. Contact us at Real Estate Experts, and we’ll tell you more.
Real Estate Experts provides comprehensive property management services in Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Hillsborough, Durham, N. Chatham County, Cary, Morrisville and now Mebane and Burlington, North Carolina
Visit our new web site at www.realestateexperts.net or give us a call at 919-928-5131 x 1 to discuss our property management services.