Although investment properties are sometimes referred to as a source of “passive income,” they’re anything but passive in the early stages of ownership. Depending on the condition of your new rental unit(s), there could be a veritable laundry list of priorities that need to be handled — ranging from repairs and property maintenance to room cleaning and even junk removal. These are just a few of the many things that may need to take place before showing the apartment to potential tenants.
The ideal scenario would look something like this: You buy a well-maintained investment property that is already occupied by responsible, stable tenants with a history of paying their rent on time. Since this rarely happens, unfortunately, it’s a good idea to have a “cushion” in your budget to absorb additional expenses, such as the ones listed below:
- Wall painting: A fresh coat of paint can do wonders for an apartment’s marketability, as well as set an example for the tenants of how you’d like them to maintain the rental unit. First impressions can have a huge impact on how fast you find and attract good tenants, so cosmetic improvements can shorten the time it takes to acquire them.
- Cleaning: In most cases, a thorough, top-to-bottom cleaning is necessary before you can hope to attract quality tenants and charge optimal rent. As is the case with painting walls and ceilings, you are setting a standard of cleanliness that tenants will hopefully notice and maintain.
- Essential repairs: In addition to the importance of complying with building codes, health and safety requirements, and housing regulations, it’s also necessary that all systems be in good working order prior to tenants moving in. That would apply to everything from plumbing and electrical systems to the condition of doors, windows, stairs, porches, the roof, and other key areas.
- Appliances: Since tenants generally expect apartments and other rental units to be equipped with working kitchen appliances and HVAC systems (heating and cooling), fixing or replacing faulty or worn-out appliances is often necessary, and will reduce complaints and help ensure a positive tenant-landlord relationship. By getting started on the right foot with tenants, they will be more inclined to pay their rent on time, take care of the apartment, and respect the rights of neighbors and nearby tenants.
Other pressing problems to take care of before showing or renting an income property would include mold remediation, infestations, or any health or safety concerns. If you previously had a property inspection done that wasn’t thorough or helpful enough, contact us at PMI Miami Dade. We’d be happy to provide you with an expert opinion on what needs to be done to get your income property in optimal condition and ready for occupancy. For more information, our full range of property management services are listed on our website.
Once the apartment, townhouse, or duplex is in move-in ready condition, determining the right price to charge and attracting quality tenants would be the next order of business. It should be noted that the definition of “move in ready” can vary widely from one person to the next, so clear communication is the best strategy for avoiding misunderstandings.
A comprehensive lease that details tenant and landlord responsibilities and obligations is an essential starting point for establishing a good, working relationship. Boilerplate rental agreements that you might find on the Internet may be incomplete or not applicable to your situation, so you may need to have one professionally drafted. When in doubt, consult with a trusted attorney.
Planning to Succeed
Whether you are a first-time investment property owner or an experienced one, there are a lot of challenges to deal with on a daily basis. Although problems are inevitable in the real estate rental business, most of them can either be avoided or kept to a minimum.
Being proactive when it comes to things like property maintenance, legal compliance, marketing your vacancies, and screening prospective tenants are the cornerstones of being successful as a Miami investment property owner. By staying organized, keeping good records, following a regular maintenance schedule, and handling problems as they come up, you can generally avoid crises and keep your rental business operating on an even keel.
For landlords who do not have the time, experience, or inclination to handle the hassles and details of day-to-day property management, we offer help in a variety of areas, including rent collection, tenant screening, legal compliance, financial reporting, handling maintenance requests, and much more.
Maximizing the financial potential of income-producing property is one of the biggest challenges facing landlords in today’s economy. Conducting some research and comparative analysis may be necessary to make sure you are getting the optimal value and returns on your income property.
Targeting and Attracting Desirable Tenants
Once your new investment property is up to standards, in terms of appearance, functionality, and compliance, you are ready for the next big hurdle: finding good tenants. There are a variety of techniques you can use to find responsible tenants, including Google pay-per-click ads, posting on social media, and advertising on websites like Craigslist.
Depending on how many rental units you have, you may also want to consider starting your own website or blog. Creating an Internet presence can generate additional inquiries, boost your credibility, and keep your existing tenants informed of policy changes, emergency numbers, problem resolution procedures, home security tips, and notices about property maintenance, planned remodeling work, or construction in the neighborhood.
If you would like to have your rental listing posted on a network of popular websites that attract apartment seekers, contact us at PMI Miami Dade. We will syndicate your listing by placing it on about 20 targeted websites like ZIllow, Trulia, Hotpads, Zumper, Craigslist, Realestate.com, and our Miami property management site. By adopting that marketing strategy, you can get the maximum exposure for your rental listing, without wasting money on advertising that gets ignored or displayed to a lot of unqualified prospects.
We can also take the burden of tenant screening and rent collection off your shoulders, making your landlord experience much less stressful. When you work with us as your property management experts, we can help you reduce the risks and focus on the financial rewards of being a property investor in Miami.