If you jumped into the real estate investing world, and you are now a landlord, you probably already know that there are many time killers to being a landlord in the Appleton / Fox Cities area or anywhere! Before you can even rent out the property, you have to make sure all the maintenance is done and it looks attractive to potential renters. Then you have to market it, show it, and screen possible tenants. These can all take a considerable amount of your time, but here are some solutions to gaining some of your precious time back.
You can do routine maintenance, and even budget for it, but you'll still have surprise bills sneak up on you. Some maintenance can become a big ticket expense, such as having to fix unexpected broken pipes, replace a roof, repair walls or replace appliances, carpets, and floors. You also have to consider the possibility of being chained down 24/7 to any unexpected maintenance calls that sometimes happen in the middle of the night (like a broken water heater or furnace that goes out).
One solution might be to bring on professional property management. Of course you will need to budget for this, but having professional property manager not only saves you time and headaches, they can react quickly to any “emergencies” that happen day or night. In order to find a good property management company to partner with, it's best to get recommendations from colleagues and your local apartment association. Visit websites such as Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) or National Association of Residential Property Managers’ (NARPM). Make sure you interview companies to get all your questions answered and leave with a good feeling that they can handle taking on all of your properties. In the Appleton / Fox Cities area, we have some incredible resources. I'm a member of the Fox Valley Apartment Association (FVAA) and I'm the owner of the Appleton Real Estate Investors' Association (Appleton REIA). These two local clubs have SO much to offer! I highly recommend getting involved and joining BOTH. Many great connections are made, resources are shared, and discounts on services as a member are extraordinary! There's even a service for allowing your tenants to enter any maintenance requests on an APP that immediately lets you know about it.
Marketing and Showing the Property
From the first tenant to the last, you have to market your property for rent. The faster you fill that property with a tenant, the less time and money you have to spend marketing it. There are some great online resources to help you multiply your efforts as well. Sites like Rentals.com and others are available for a charge, but make a HUGE difference in how much time you have to personally spend trying to get the word out. The Appleton REIA offers some nice discounts for companies like these.
Take a video tour of the rental unit. By creating a 2-3 minute video highlighting the features of the unit, inside and out, you will save yourself tons of time waiting for, and showing, potential renters. Also, after potential tenants have seen the video and want to see the property in person, don’t hesitate to narrow the selection by doing a pre-screening before they set foot on the property.
When you become a landlord you may find that you are overwhelmed by the amount of work, and time, it takes to manage your tenants. Some of the things you may encounter taking up your time are making daily calls for late or unpaid rent, tenants are not getting along with neighbors or dealing with an eviction notice.
Before you even let a tenant rent from you make sure you do the due diligence to avoid having these issues. Use a screening system such as ISC (Investigative Screening and Consulting Information). ISC is a fast, convenient, and cost-effective way to provide you a mobile web-enabled screening process. The applicants complete the application and pay the fee. You receive a full investigative report within 4-6 business hours. Here's where today's technology can once again save you TIME! This amazing company will completely screen potential tenants AND keep you compliant with all the privacy laws without you even having to worry about it. They can get the credit reports, criminal history, eviction history, sex offender registry, and more...nationwide! Let's face it, doing a local screening will not help you if this person has had issues in other states. Services like these are also offered at substantial discounts when joining local associations. It's also another company included in the discounted services of the Appleton REIA.
To make any task easier, you need to handle your problem head-on. Using Apps such as The Landlord App and Legal4Landlords can help you manage some tasks quicker. Also, continue to network to increase your knowledge about what others are doing to save time and money. If you are not already a member of the Appleton REIA, join! This is a great networking organization to meet new people and learn what works and what doesn’t. Check us out at AppletonREIA.com or find us on Facebook. There you will find tons of information about the club, sponsors, and sign-up to attend the next event. Check out the Fox Valley Apartment Association at FVAA.com too! I look forward to seeing you there.