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Complete Property Management How-To Guide for Successful Landlords

In order to manage your properties and tenants successfully, property managers and landlords must contend with tight timelines, industry regulations, and new technologies.

As a rookie landlord managing contracts, upkeep, and late fees can be intimidating, but don’t let this deter you. We’ve got some tips for you to succeed, from setting up simple forms that you can reuse to getting aid from third-party services when you need it.

What is property management?

Unless you hire a property manager to oversee, you’ll need to become comfortable with your real estate assets’ day-to-day operations. This includes addressing any queries or problems that renters may have, often offering real-time support, collecting rent, managing your books, and preparing for tax time. Responsibilities also include filling vacancies and dealing with maintenance.

Engaging a property manager to help manage your properties can be beneficial but isn’t the right choice for everyone, which begs the question: how do property management companies function, and what precisely do they accomplish?

The following are the most frequent responsibilities of a property management company:

  • Tenant screening to check applicants’ previous rental history and their ability to pay.
  • Organising legal documents such as the rental agreement.
  • Manage day to day admin tasks such as rent collection.
  • Taking care of maintenance issues within strict time constraints and to budget.
  • Ensure the property is up to code and remains habitable.
  • Staff must be familiar with the landlord/tenant laws in the state they live in, as evictions may be necessary due to non-payment, harassment, neighbor fights, and property damage assessments.

Rental property management tips

While the rental property is frequently referred to as “passive income,” it isn’t simply a case of “set it and forget it”. Once you’ve found a rental property to buy, there are many activities to complete to turn the business into a profitable operation. Tenant management, property maintenance, and finance tracking are just a few of the areas you’ll manage.

1. Property maintenance

As a landlord, you are legally obligated to maintain your property and ensure it remains in a safe and habitable state. Additionally, if you don’t do regular maintenance, you may have difficulty attracting and keeping good tenants.

Unexpected maintenance issues can cost tens of thousands of dollars and may not be covered by insurance. Specific forms of preventative maintenance can be employed to help prevent issues from escalating. For example, we recommend replacing the supply hoses and drain pipes on a dishwasher and washing machine every few years. In addition, if your home is older, it may be time to have your water valves and sink faucets replaced. This type of maintenance can assist in preventing the danger of water damage in the future.

Additionally, in some circumstances, you can save money by fixing rather than replacing items. For example, having your carpets cleaned before investing in new carpets.

We recommend conducting “safe and clean” inspections every three to six months during a tenant’s stay to document the property’s condition. This keeps you informed about any maintenance concerns you’re responsible for before they become bigger problems, and it gives the renter time to repair any damage they might have caused.

Regular inspections and routine maintenance can be requested by you or your property management company, such as:

  • Lawn Maintenance
  • Drywall Patching
  • Pressure Washing
  • Problems with the plumbing
  • Preventative Maintenance
  • Appliance Repair, and more.

2. Taking care of tenants

Managing tenants means dealing with tenant complaints. Knowing the most common complaints and how to resolve them proactively will improve your tenant’s experience and improve your retention rates.

Strong lines of communication are essential, you could even communicate through simple social media platforms or applications to make it easy for the clients to keep in touch. Make sure that all-important communications are recorded in writing and preserved for posterity.

Following up with a tenant after you’ve resolved a problem, whether a maintenance issue or a pest infestation, demonstrates that you’re concerned about their comfort and well-being. Treating the person with respect and responding promptly increases the likelihood of resolving the issue to your tenant’s satisfaction.

Non-payment of rent is the number one fear for landlords when it comes to new tenants and is the leading cause of evictions in the US. Landlords can take steps to avoid payment issues by employing rent reminders, late fees, and accepting online rent payments using a system like Landlord Studio.

Other common causes for eviction include risks to the safety of your other tenants or your property, property damage caused by your tenant, and illegal activity in your property.

If you need to initiate the eviction procedure, you must follow the laws of your state. You can reduce the risk of eviction by employing tenant screening to assist you in selecting high-quality tenants in the first place. A credit, criminal, and eviction history check will provide you with a more comprehensive picture of your applicant’s background and chances of paying on time.

While tenant turnover is a normal part of the rental process and can even allow you to charge a higher rent rate, it can quickly eat into your earnings if it happens too often or the vacancy periods are too long.

You must obey landlord-tenant legislation while dealing with tenants. The federal Fair Housing Act and state and local restrictions are all part of this. Returning security deposits, selecting tenants, and providing notice before entering are all activities covered by landlord-tenant legislation, and understanding them can help you simplify your management obligations.

You can join forums or a relevant Facebook group for more information on how to deal with specific situations, discuss particular scenarios with your peers and other experienced landlords, and help come to a fast and legal resolution.

3. Self-managing your properties

If you opt to self-manage your investment properties, it’s a good idea to consult a lawyer in order to become familiar with landlord-tenant laws in your area, fair housing compliance, legal leasing agreements and paperwork, and policies such as late fees and grace periods, and so on.

Some landlords imagine they’ll spend a handful of hours a month taking rent payments or answering the occasional phone call. However, this isn’t always the case. While software like Landlord Studio has made it increasingly simple to manage your properties yourself with streamlined rent collection, easy accounting, and lease management, you may find that dealing with some tenants and some maintenance issues can become time-consuming.

You’ll need systems in place to manage tenant applicants, maintenance requests, easily find emails, and follow up on tenant calls. You’ll also need to establish a network of dependable and trustworthy contractors and vendors who are bonded, qualified, and ready to operate in an emergency (like a pipe bursting or rodent invasion, etc.).

The primary factors of consideration for self-managing your rental are the time it takes and the experience needed to manage your rentals professionally. Thankfully, there are numerous free and paid resources, from blogs to online podcasts that can help you quickly come to grips with the ins and outs of real estate management.

4. Hiring a property manager

What are the fees charged by rental property managers? Property management fees, according to InvestFourMore, range from 8-12% of monthly rent, with a lease fee of up to a month’s rent.

Even if the cost is not an issue, using a property management company is not for everyone. Consider the following aspects when deciding whether or not employing a property management company is a good idea for your organization.

Some of the main reasons investors hire a property management company include: :

  • You have too many rental properties to self-manage.
  • You don’t live near your rental property.
  • You don’t want to be in charge of anything.
  • You have a limited amount of time.
  • You have the financial assets to pay for it.

Nevertheless, hiring a property manager has its perks, and here are a few.

  • Already established infrastructure

Rental property management companies have policies and personnel in place to handle rent, leases, applications, notices of entry, and other documentation, as well as screening procedures and knowledge of local landlord and tenant laws. Property management businesses will also have a long list of trustworthy and dependable contractors and vendors to establish a strong working relationship.

  • Save your priceless time

Property management businesses are skilled specialists who efficiently deal with minor details so you can feel confident leaving them in charge of the day-to-day. Finding a good management firm will mean you can let them handle the small stuff saving you a lot of time. This service makes investing in rental homes easier by giving you more time to enjoy life, work, or buy new rental properties to add to your portfolio.

  • Outsourcing opportunities

Property managers will likely access a client portal that details their industry contacts allowing them to easily find the right person for any job that arises. There are numerous examples of times when they might outsource jobs to a specialist, for example, maintenance issues, finding tenants and organizing viewings, determining the correct rent amount to charge, dealing with damages and deposits, and potential evictions.

Your rental property is a business and your tenants are your clients. Any profitable business understands how to distribute workloads among qualified professionals to provide the best possible service.

Self-manage your properties with property management software

Property management software is designed to make everyday operations like collecting rent payments and responding to maintenance requests a breeze. You can also easily monitor your data in real-time and generate reports for tax season.

Most property management software is cloud-based, which means you don’t need to install anything—go online and log in to view and manage your data at any time and from any location.

We get what you’re thinking: I’ve been managing my properties for years on paper or in Excel, so why should I use property management software?

It’s an excellent question. This leads to a discussion of property management software’s advantages.

While property management software won’t automate every aspect of your property management, it can be a cost-effective and straightforward solution. This allows property managers and landlords to manage properties, accounting, and marketing all in one place.

Let’s look at some of the property management duties you might be struggling with and see how property management software can help.

  • Taking care of the books.

What would your daily work life be like if you didn’t have to regularly go through piles of paper receipts and stacks of bank statements to update your Excel spreadsheets manually? Good property management software will enable you to digitize receipts at the point of sale, connect your bank accounts to view and reconcile transactions in real-time, and view and update your accounts on the go, from any device. Plus, it keeps all your data organized and accessible in one place.

  • Payments.

For hassle-free automatic payment and income tracking, consider using Landlord Studio’s online rent collection tool. Make late rent payments a thing of the past by allowing your tenants to pay rent straight into your bank account.

Tenants can pay their rent online and on time with the aid of Landlord Studio. Payments are made straight to your bank within 3-5 business days, which is faster and more secure than cash or checks and eliminates the need to visit the bank. Plus, we have automated rent reminders and will automatically reconcile all of your payments and keep your books updated for you.

  • Access your information.

All of the capabilities of property management software are available on desktops, phones, and tablets. As a result, you won’t have to lug your laptop around looking for a Wi-Fi hotspot to check on maintenance requests, rental applications, or payments. Instead, spend more time speaking with tenants and expanding your company. Also, keep all of your necessary documentation and paperwork well-organized in a system designed to scale.

  • To find new tenants, you must advertise and screen them.

By using property management software in conjunction. with rental listing platforms like Craigslist or Zillow, you can get your listing in front of as many people as possible, efficiently manage tenant applications, and run tenant screening reports.

Property management automation with Landlord Studio

Landlord Studio is a robust platform that keeps you productive while allowing you to build your business. It is elegantly designed by industry specialists that know what counts most.

1. What features help landlords manage the property successfully?

Some elements of property management software provide more excellent value than others, therefore it’s important to know which features to look for.

So, let’s explore a few features of efficient, adaptable property management software.

  • Cloud based

Cloud-based software allows you to access your data at any time from any device. This allows you to update your books in real-time, access reports, and manage communications. Additionally, the cloud can be far more secure than a local hard drive because of its hardware infrastructure, data encryption, and intrusion detection.

For additional layers of security, you can also use an SPF checker with your business email builder to authenticate the sender of an email. By prioritizing email security in this way you can reduce spam and fraud by making it much harder for malicious senders to disguise their identity.

Landlord Studio enables users to connect their bank accounts and accept payments. As such we understand the importance of security. We have bank-grade security, and our partner Dwolla offers robust security standards that provide landlords with confidence that their data is being protected in an industry where trust is critical.

  • Work automation

Software is all about automating work duties so that you don’t have to do them. This saves you and your team a significant amount of time, which equates to money. In addition, errors and lost paper document concerns can be reduced with sound accounting and job automation.

  • Lease management

The automation of the property management software makes lease management a snap. Set lease end reminders, automate tenant communications, adjust rent amounts, and save associated documents for rapid retrieval.

  • Industry-specific accounting

It takes time to collect rent payments and enter accounting entries. Accounting is accurate and trustworthy when software is specialized to the specific demands of landlords. With Landlord Studio you can track your rental property accounts on a property by property, unit by unit basis. Accurate income and expense tracking is essential as your financial reports are only as good as your accounting.

  • Improved reporting

Advanced reporting will help you better analyze your portfolio’s performance. Reports assist you in keeping track of spending, allowing you to see how much rent has been collected, where money has gone, and how much money is remaining in each account. This is essential if you are going to stay on top of your cash flow.

  • Contractor management

Knowing who your contractors are, where they are now, what they’re doing, and what they’ve done is critical to tenant satisfaction and avoiding fraud or rework expenses. To ensure that costs are controlled, and jobs are completed correctly, you need to manage invoices and stay on top of repairs and communications.

2. How to learn property management with Landlord Studio?

Landlord Studio focuses on providing an industry-specific solution for DIY landlords that is both effective and inexpensive. Track income and expenses, manage tenant screening, create rental listings, and even collect rent online.

They have video tutorials and bi-weekly webinars as well as a comprehensive help section and support team to advise and answer any questions you might have.

Using Landlord Studio online resources, guides, blogs, and podcasts, you can further your understanding of how to successfully manage your properties.

Rather than selling online courses, Landlord Studio offers a wide range of free-to-access knowledgeable materials on their website with information on a wide range of topics ranging from financial and legal advice to methods of efficient property management.

Other free resources include our selection of legal templates.

3. What calculators Landlord Studio offers

A final free resource offered by Landlord Studio includes the calculators.

  • Rental Yield Calculator: Calculate Net Yield, Gross Yield, Repayment Period, and Cash Flow.
  • Mortgage Calculator: Calculate your total mortgage repayment estimates.
  • 70% Rule Calculator: Estimate your total purchase price for fixes and flips.
  • Prorate Calculator: Easily calculate how much prorate rent to charge.

The ability to appraise deals is crucial for a real estate investor’s success. Employing the appropriate rental property calculator can assist you in making educated and informed financial decisions regarding your investment properties.

Real estate investments as a buy-and-hold are one of the best ways to generate long-term wealth but come with their own set of obstacles and challenges. If you want to put in the effort, logistics, and coordination required to be a successful property owner, you can manage your asset yourself using a tool such as Landlord Studio.

Property Management SoftwareRental ManagementRental Property Accounting

Ben Luxon

Ben is the editor and lead writer for Landlord Studio. He has worked with real estate professionals all over the world and written educational articles on tech, real estate, and financial growth for sites such as Forbes, TechBullion, and Business Magazine.

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