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What to Know Before Becoming a Landlord

Being a landlord is a fantastic method of creating a career or making some extra cash on the side. However, the world of real estate is complex for the beginner landlord-to-be, and and there is a lot to know before committing to this profession. If you’re thinking about becoming a landlord, here are a few things to know before taking the leap.

It is not a simple 9-5 job

Working as a landlord is much more than collecting a check once a month. Instead, as a landlord, you have to dedicate yourself to ensuring the property is liveable and comfortable for your tenants. This includes shoveling their front steps, fixing the furnace, or putting in mouse traps—all things that cannot be planned out in advance. Plus, there may be some situations where you have to stop everything you are doing to fix something at the property, derailing your plans for the rest of the day.

Above anything else, the time you spend being a landlord can easily change from one hour a month to an entire weekend of work. Knowing that your daily obligations can fluctuate on a dime is incredibly important to know before starting the profession.

There are legal laws to abide by

As a property owner, there are federal and state rules you must follow. For example, there could be specific areas of your city that prohibit rental properties, or there could be rules determining how often your property undergoes an inspection. To ensure your practices are legal and all your bases are covered, it is always beneficial to speak to a real estate lawyer before purchasing a property.

You cannot come and go as you please

As a landlord, you are unable to come and go as you please, even though you own the property. To protect your tenants’ privacy, there are certain rules concerning your entry rights, including contacting your tenant beforehand, and not entering the property when they are not home unless permission has been otherwise granted.

You will be a jack of all trades

A landlord typically wears many hats. At any given time, you can be a realtor, a negotiator, a detective, a salesperson, a handyman, a debt collector for mortgage services, and a supervisor. Be sure to familiarize yourself with all of the duties you may be required to perform, so that nothing down the road comes as a surprise.

You will spend more money than you think

Being a landlord is a job that requires a lot of investment. Investment in not only your property, but yourself as a manager and your tenants as return customers. Think of being a landlord as working in customer service —you will always want to ensure you have the best training possible so you can serve your clients efficiently, and you will always want to give the best service so your tenants will continue to renew their lease year after year.

On top of training and customer service, you will have another home to look after. A new roof, a new furnace, new windows, a new foundation, and a new sink are all expenses you will be responsible for. Keep this in mind when you go to price your unit, as you will want to set aside money that is meant for house repairs.

You will want to screen your tenants

It goes without saying that you will want to screen your tenants before accepting their applications. You should only allow trustworthy, honest, and respectable people into your property, and luckily, there are some great technologies online that will help you do so easily. In fact, you can even perform a tenant screening report free of charge, saving you and your potential tenants a headache in the long run.

With these ideas in mind, you should be able to better determine whether becoming a tenant is the right career path for you. If so, familiarize yourself with the duties and potential tasks that may be asked of you to ensure your property—and tenants—are properly cared for.