Being a landlord isn’t always a breeze, unexpected eventualities can cause a whole host of issues, not the least of them financial. Whilst we hate spouting cliches it really pays dividends for landlords to “hope for the best but prepare for the worst”.
Being prepared for the worst is often a means to either mitigate or avoid disaster altogether, even if they come in unexpected forms or at unexpected times such as now with COVID-19.
In this article, we explore a few key ways our landlords prepare for the worst to reduce potential risks to their business and save on stress, as well as a few tips from our team on coping with isolation during the days of COVID-19 lockdown.
Screening tenants is one of the most time-consuming and challenging parts of being a landlord. This is why we’ve written so many articles about it and even a free Ebook.
On the one side, you want the best possible tenant – someone who will pay rent on time and in full, report maintenance issues promptly and respect your property like your own. On the other side, you need to fill your vacancies fast as they can become costly.
You also need to be careful how many and which tenants you reject as you could end up with a lawsuit on your hands.
You need to develop a strict, standardized screening process that looks at concrete information such as, rental history, income, credit score, evictions, and background checks.<p?
We outline how you can develop your tenant screening process here: The Ultimate Guide to Tenant Screening for DIY Landlords
Nobody can do everything themselves. Not even the savviest DIYer is a replacement for a technical plumbing job. And even the most knowledgeable or experienced among us couldn’t benefit from experienced legal or accountancy advice at times. On top of this, it’s not always time-efficient for you to do every job yourself.
Simply stated, if there’s a job you dislike or a task that tends to take up too much of your time spend a bit of time finding a way to outsource the task.
For example, you shouldn’t waste hours cleaning your units between tenancies. Spend some extra money on a professional cleaning service and use the time you save to screen potential tenants or something else that adds value to your operation.
There are plenty of reasons to attend to repairs promptly. First, if you leave an issue unattended it will stay at the back of your mind, a nagging reminder that there’s one more thing you need to get done. This feeling won’t leave until the problem is resolved. This isn’t too bad if it’s just the one thing that needs doing. However, stress has a tendency to pile on.
Dealing with repairs quickly has several other benefits too. For one it’ll help keep your tenant happy. Secondly, it’ll stop the expense from extrapolating meaning you won’t need to fork out so much cash all at once.
Maintenance issues can arise at any time. Often they are unexpected. This is especially true if you have long term tenants and only do property inspections every six months or so.
When unexpected maintenance issues do arise you need to be able to deal with them straight away. Not doing so could result in matters dramatically worsening. For example, a minor leak might turn into a major reroofing project. Or you might end up in a scenario where your tenants take you to court (if the property is deemed uninhabitable).
If something breaks, you really don’t want to be reaching into your own personal funds. Instead, you have money already segmented for this specific purpose. Depending on what sort of profit you’re seeing, it’s a good idea to allocate somewhere between 3 and 10 percent of the total monthly rent to your repair fund.
The right tools will save you time and make the management of your properties easier. For example, you might use Rocket Lawyer for all your legal and documentation needs. You could use a property maintenance software to record your property maintenance needs and allow your tenants to easily submit maintenance requests. And of course, a property management software like Landlord Studio will help keep your books in order.
Landlord Studio allows you to easily track income and expenses, as well as quickly and easily digitise receipts using our smart scan feature in the app. On top of this, with bank feed integration you can connect your bank account and reconcile expenses and income for an even faster and error-free income and expense management system.
The above article explores some of the main solutions to key landlord stress issues. However, there is another side to managing properties. This being the psychological trials and stresses that come with running any form of business.
This is especially true right now during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many people have been forced into quarantine. Huge numbers of people have lost their jobs, and there is an air of uncertainty around the future. It has become even clearer that we all need to take time apart and focus on ourselves.
However you choose to deal with the stresses of your job as a landlord, keep in mind the three key areas of personal health. Diet, Exercise and Mental Health.
Below we’ve compiled a couple of resources the Landlord Studio team are using whilst in our quarantine bubbles:
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