Who are you? Someone who wants to manage every detail of your property or someone who wants to outsource things? Maybe you want to self-manage and keep as much money in your pocket as possible. Perhaps you don’t want to deal with tenants, maintenance, or live a distance from the properties, so you’re ready to hire a property manager and free up your time.
Whichever describes you, you’re in the right place. We’ve created this property management library to answer your most burning questions like “What is property management?” and “What does a property management company do?” We cover how to market rentals, manage tenants, and coordinate maintenance and repairs, so bookmark this chapter and check back regularly as we continually add new resources to help you with every aspect of rental property management.
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Should You Outsource or DIY Property Management?
Whether you’re a do-it-yourself (DIY) landlord or looking to outsource the management of your rental properties, it’s essential to know what property management is and what property managers do. We’ve compiled our top articles on property management companies and online property management software to help you decide.
Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Property Management
Want to know what property managers cost? Check out our ultimate guide to property management fees. Do you only own a few rentals, and you’re not sure if it’s worth it to hire a property management company? Read our guide on when and how to hire a property manager. Are you an overwhelmed DIY landlord, and you’re planning to get organized this year? See our section on property management software to help you manage rental properties like a pro.
Property Management Software for the DIY Landlord
If you’re going to go the DIY route and self-manage your rentals, there are both free and paid online property management software programs to help you organize your day-to-day property management activities. We’ve collected information on some of the most popular programs available based on user experience. Check them out.
Advertise for Great Tenants
Want to know how to find the best tenants for your rentals? Well, to fill your vacancies with those long-term dream tenants, you have to know how and where to market your rentals.
If you do it yourself, you can post vacancies on popular sites like Craigslist, Zillow, and Facebook Marketplace. You also can run ads in the local paper.
Much of the property management software we reference above provides a platform to syndicate and market your rentals, which will save you a ton of time. You may want a website for your investment property business, but don’t know the first thing about how to build one. Many of the online property management software programs have taken the guesswork out of this and include a professional website for your business.
As tenant-applicants begin responding to your great rental property ads, you’re going to have to have processes for taking applications and screening tenants. You’ll also need a rental agreement. To keep great tenants, you’ll want to show your appreciation. When the going gets tough, you’ll have to know how to evict a challenging tenant swiftly and what the landlord-tenants laws are for your state.
Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered. We’ve provided the tools, tips, and templates you need to manage your tenants and maintain your peace of mind.
The rental application is the first part of the landlord-tenant relationship. Applications are used to gather background information on prospective tenants regarding their rental history, income and employment, credit history, and whether they’ve ever been evicted or convicted of a crime. We’ve provided free rental application templates so that you can begin taking applications right away.
Tenant Screening & Background Checks
As part of your rental application process, it’s critical to screen applicants for criminal activity, evictions, income, credit, and employment. Tenant screening services are an excellent resource for tenant background screening. They pull data from thousands of records in national databases, saving landlords time and finding information landlords would struggle to get on their own.
Leasing & Rental Agreements
I’m always shocked when I meet a landlord who doesn’t have a written leasing agreement with their tenants. Guess where I meet most of these landlords. You guessed it. Housing court. Rental agreements protect landlords and tenants and help avoid confusion. We’ve included templates for both month-to-month tenants and long-term tenants in a lease. We’ve also provided a rent receipt template. Check back as we add more landlord rental documents.
Showing the Love: Tenant Appreciation
You’ve secured some great tenants and want to keep them. Showing a little appreciation goes a long way. As a landlord, there are many things you can do to let your tenants know you want them to stay and to provide a place they won’t want to leave for a long time. Who doesn’t like to feel valued and appreciated? Check out our appreciation letter and some low-cost gifts you can give to your tenants to show your love.
When the Going Gets Tough: Managing Legal Issues
Whether you manage your rentals yourself or outsource to a property management company, it’s important to know the federal, state, and local landlord-tenant laws for your investment property. We’ve provided a state-by-state guide. When the going gets tough, you have to act quickly to take back possession of your rental.
Show Me the Money: Collecting Rent and Taking Deductions
Instead of waiting for rent checks to come in the mail or having to track down tenants each month for the rent, with modern technology, you can collect rent online and have it deposited directly into your business bank account. Some online payment services also collect late fees and issue notices to tenants for late payments.
Investors often think of rental income as their only revenue stream for investment properties, but did you know that there are rental property tax deductions that put money back in your pocket? We’ve included those here for you plus a free worksheet for you to keep track of.
A Note About Additional Revenue Streams
In addition to rental property tax deductions and rental income, there are other ways to increase income from your investment properties. Coin-operated laundry, vending machines, paid storage, and paid parking can add up quickly to hundreds of dollars each month.
Of course, it will depend on your property type and location. You don’t want to charge tenants extra to park their cars if your property has ample off-street parking. You’d include parking in their tenancy. However, if your property is in a location where parking is a challenge, and you have fewer spaces than rental units, or you have more space than tenants can use, you could charge a parking fee.
Property Maintenance and Repairs
Repairs and maintenance are a major part of what landlords and property managers do. Well-maintained rentals rent faster and for more money. Well-maintained properties increase in value. Keeping on top of rental property maintenance saves money by addressing minor repairs before they become major repairs. We’ve written quite a bit on this subject, so read on.
Becoming a Great Landlord
It doesn’t matter if you outsource property management or do it yourself. Being a landlord is tough and a lot of work. There are so many landlord responsibilities to keep track of and manage that there’s nothing passive about passive income. We’ve written some great articles to help you be the best landlord you want to be and to know how to address challenges and issues as they arise.
We hope this property management library helps you manage your rental properties, whether you outsource to a property management company or do it yourself. Be sure to bookmark this page and check back periodically as we continue to add property management tips and resources to this library.