Owning a rental property has become an appealing idea for many young investors. Unfortunately, there’s more to being a landlord than just owning a house and collecting the rent. To ensure your first investment property is a success, follow these simple rules:

Do Pre-screen tenants – Pre-screening tenants is one of the best things you can do as a new investor. It’s easy to get excited about finding a prospective tenant, and to make excuses for their credit or rental history. They may be a great person, but their history is a good way to tell how they’ll treat your house, and how they’ll pay their rent.

Do outline the rules – Make sure your tenants are aware of the rules. If you don’t want any walls painted, make sure you not only put it in the contract but tell them before they sign the contract. Try to allow for 2-4 day forgiveness on late rent, but let your tenants know that after the forgiveness period, they will need to pay the late fees.

Don’t be the “Owner” – If you plan on collecting rent or cutting the grass, introduce yourself as the “manager” of the property. Tenants don’t need to know who owns the property, and unless you hire a management company, you are technically both the manager and owner. When a tenant knows you own the property, they are more likely to ask for favors or extensions on rent.

Do respond quickly – One of the best ways to keep good tenants is to be a great landlord. Tenants don’t need a friend; they need a quick responder to their problems. If their heat goes out in the winter, make sure you can fix it within the day. If you can’t fix it immediately, try to make up for it by paying for a hotel room for one or two nights. It may seem like an added expense, but if your tenants know you’ll take care of them, they will stay as long as they can.

Do communicate – One of the biggest mistakes a new landlord makes is shutting down the lines of communication with their tenants. There are times when your tenant may be going through a rough patch and may need an extra week or even two to come up with their rent. If you tell them to be honest and forthcoming with their situation, you can usually help solve their problems. If you intimidate them, they may not want to tell you they plan on paying late, even if they can pay the late fees. Let them know that while you are stern, you want to help them and that there’s always a way to work things out if they come to you with a problem.

If you’re looking to own your own investment property, check out our Denver real estate for sale on PorchLight Realty.

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