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Thread: Tips for being a landlord?

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    #1

    Tips for being a landlord?

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    Our house has been on the market for a while, and while we've had a ton of showings, it's just not selling. We don't want to go down on price, so we've decided to rent. We have a realtor and property management company, and we're getting help from Dh's parents so we make sure we do this right, but I wanted to get tips from other military landlords. Things that others might not think about. Any helpful advice?


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    #2
    What kind of tips are you looking for....there is also a military landlord Facebook page that you might want to check out too.
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    My family owns a few dozen houses, but they do all the management themselves, so that aspect will probably be a lot easier. I would keep an eye on your management company because I have heard of them screwing people over. Just watch numbers and what they're doing. The only people who get screwed over are the ones who hire a company and then pay no attention to it.

    I would also want to meet the tenants before they move in and I'm sure the realtor will work with you on that.
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    My husband and I own a house we've rented out for 11 years now. Not sure what tips you're wanting but I've had good experiences and I have horror stories. I've managed it myself and had property managers. Just depends on what kind of tips you're looking for.
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    Make sure to attach a credit score to the rentability. I've heard horror stories from friends who are landlords, but DH and I have had 2 sets of great tenants because we did a credit check and wouldn't rent to people with a score below 700 or whatever (not sure of the specifics, that's DH's ballpark). That's not a sure fire way to make sure you get good tenants, but generally good/decent people take care of their credit and you can assume would take care of your house. You could also mention to your tenants that you are willing to sell the house in a rent-to-own scenario if they move in and decide they like the house and neighborhood. That happened to our house in FL and we should be selling it in January to the tenants that have been renting it the past 3 years.

    Try to get the longest lease possible. We rented our house in VA to a Marine and his family on a 2 year lease because his orders were for 2 years and we gave them a discount on the rent for signing a 2yr.

    We ended up ditching our management company, it was more hassle than it was worth. They still called us for whatever issues the tenant was having, and we still had to coordinate with them, so we just cut out the middleman after the initial lease and have managed both properties on our own since.
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    anything you can think of we're first time homeowners and now renters so anything you think would be helpful probably will.

    The property management company we're using we got through our realtor. They use credit and background checks for tenants, which I really like. They have a 24 hr maintenance hotline, and they troubleshoot problems, which I like because we have an expensive solar panel system. I'm just not comfortable having a rental without property management because we've never done it and we live out of state.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Sabrina22LE View Post
    My family owns a few dozen houses, but they do all the management themselves, so that aspect will probably be a lot easier. I would keep an eye on your management company because I have heard of them screwing people over. Just watch numbers and what they're doing. The only people who get screwed over are the ones who hire a company and then pay no attention to it.

    I would also want to meet the tenants before they move in and I'm sure the realtor will work with you on that.
    That's pretty impossible considering our house is in Texas and we're in GA, then Washington. I mean, the property management/realtor should meet them obviously, but there is no way I can personally meet anyone.


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    Double check your mortgage documents. I know my mortgage is for my primary residence and couldn't be used if I was renting. Something to check.
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    Quote Originally Posted by HisJuliet View Post
    Double check your mortgage documents. I know my mortgage is for my primary residence and couldn't be used if I was renting. Something to check.
    this is the VA loan policy, right? I think I remember that from when DH and I bought...
    WiggleWiggle~ is my Wifey
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    With a property management company or just a property manager I would have them do the credit and back ground check. In the past I would allow them to narrow it down to 2/3 prospective tenants, they would tell me who they believed would be the best but my husband and I would make the final decision. This past time I looked at the information, did my own research and made calls to landlords and employers myself as well. It took 3+ months but we finally found renters I was comfortable with (you get extremely picky when you've been screwed over). We've had companies send us a check but the property manager we have now we use PayPal with. He calls us with updates and sends us receipts. That is a HUGE thing you need to make sure the company or property manager follows through on. Do NOT let them slack on getting you reciepts for every single thing. I don't care if it is a light bulb. Know where your money is going.

    I'm going to veer for a minute and elaborate on why that last part is so important. So December 2013 we hired a property manager with a well known company. I would love to throw the name out there, but believe me you've heard of them and possibly even used the company yourself. Anyways he was always good with us and the renters. It was closing in on the time the last set's lease was expiring (May 2015) so we called to see if they were renewing. He assured us they were. A couple weeks later he called to inform us that no, they were no longer able to afford the place because of some legal issues. When getting the place cleaned and ready to find new renters issues with the house started popping up. We kept telling him he needed to send us receipts which he said he would but never did. Before fixing the issues he moved new renters in (which he fully admitted to me he knew personally) and then before we knew it he was saying he had spent 2 months rent and was already into the 3rd month's trying to fix the issue. Keep in mind this was over the course of 5/6 weeks total (from the old renters handing over the keys to him saying he was into the 3rd month's rent from the new tenants). I ended up calling fair housing and almost had to call code enforcement out to the house on myself because at that point I had no clue what was really going on the true state of the house. I also called the owner of that branch of the company to take over and fired th property manager. To this day, I've only received 1 bill and it was for $88. Due to other issues that came up the house became uninhabitable for a period of time so the owner of the company got the tenants out for me. When my new property manager picked up the keys I promptly fired the whole company. But we were without rent for almost 1 year and had to pay over $10,000 between fixing the repairs, property manager fees (for the new one) and utilities. Luckily I was on top of the other company of they could have continued to do what they were for who knows how long? But from the point the old tenants moved out to me firing the whole company was 7ish weeks.

    In other words, have a contract with the property manager or company and make sure they follow it. Don't be afraid to be a bit mean if need be. I've had to come across as a heartless bitch I'm sure at times but in the end, this is business. Plain and simple. There are people that will try to take advantage of you. And knowing you're states away can make you an even bigger target. It is a shame but that is how it is. Then again, you also want to know when is the time to work with people. It takes a balance and sometimes you'll question yourself.

    Btw, keep all reciepts for things you pay for related that house (repairs, property management fees, marketing fees, utilities, insurance, taxes, etc). There are lots you can write off come tax time--which you're going to want to do since all rent is income, not just what you get over your mortgage.

    If you can think of any specific questions I can try to answer. Btw, I dealt with this from WA and the house is in OH. So trust me I know what it is like to be thousands of miles away from your house. I've also personally evicted tenants before. Some left on their own and then there was the set I had to go to court over, have be bailiff come out and he called 2 police officers out to assist. Like I said, I have horror stories. lol
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