Reducing the Hassles of Being a Landlord

by Ernesto R. Martin

I cover here techniques that minimize the hassles of being a landlord, to the point where they can become insignificant.

  1. Requiring 3 months of rent up front (first and last month, and one month's deposit) and screening prospective tenants (an inexpensive service) virtually eliminates delinquency (tenants that don't pay).

  2. Working with a Realtor familiar with investment properties helps you select the right unit in the right neighborhood, which further avoids delinquency, minimizes both repairs and turn-over (periods of vacancy), and enhances the appreciation potential.

  3. Pricing the unit reasonably (not trying to squeeze the maximum rent out of it) not only minimizes turn-over, but the unit gets re-rented fast; my tenants last an average of 4 years and I often re-rent in 2 weeks.

  4. Including in the Lease Agreement that repairs under, say, $200, are for the tenant's account minimizes calls from the tenants; I average one call every 6 months for my 4 properties.

  5. Finally, my tenants pay me electronically, depositing the rent into my bank account.

As you can see, it's almost easy-peasy. And if you're concerned about repairs, you will of course have the unit thoroughly inspected before purchase and should be able to get the seller to lower the price to cover any repairs that may be needed. Also, the Realtor you've chosen because of his/her familiarity with investment properties should be able to recommend repairmen who are competent, honest and price-reasonable. I had no difficulty in finding such people, plus they go to the unit, make the repairs and send me a bill.