So, you’re thinking about renting your house and becoming a landlord.
You have spent countless hours on Google researching “how to lease your home”, you’ve chatted with friends/family and you have even talked to a few property management companies.
I’ll give you credit – you put in the work and developed a general understanding for how the rental market works. You might even feel prepared to begin the search for the perfect tenant. However, little future landlord cadet, you have not prepared yourself for THE most important thing you can do to prevent your leasing experience from turning into a nightmare:
YOU! Yes, I said YOU! 👆
In my years running West End, one of the largest property management companies in St. Louis, I can confidently say that most of the problems we run into with “newbie” landlords are caused by, well, newbie landlords themselves.
What do I mean? Surprisingly, the “real estate” side of things is rarely the problem. Instead, it’s the “emotional” aspect of becoming a landlord that causes you to step on your own toes, creating the perfect environment for hypersensitive and detrimental behavior toward the leasing process.
So, what’s a newbie landlord to do?
Before you take the plunge into the rental market, consider these 4 pieces of advice that will help you approach the lease of your property in an objective, cerebral (and hopefully enjoyable!) way:
1. You’ve hired a professional property manager, trust them! –
I can assure you, there is nothing more undermining to a property manager than a micromanaging owner/landlord. If you have chosen the right manager (see our previous blog post about hiring a new manager 😉), they will be knowledgeable, experienced and more than capable of providing a superior level of service. You can expect your West End property manager to be highly attentive and remember, they know more about property management than you do. You hired them, let them do their job and make your life easier!
2. No home is perfect, be prepared for “transitional issues” –
I hear this a lot: “The house was perfect when I moved out” or “Everything was in great working order.” While that may be (mostly) true, new landlords need to remember that not everyone will have the same definition of perfect as they do. For example, just because you shut the doors a specific way does not mean the next occupant will also. I can almost guarantee that within the first month of his or her lease your tenant will request a repair or two, and that’s perfectly normal – don’t let it panic you!
3. Make sure your home is truly tenant-ready –
Don’t give your tenant a reason to start their lease less-than-satisfied. When you leave, make sure your home is deeply cleaned (this includes floors, inside of cabinets, appliances, baseboards, light switches, etc.), code compliant and free of any of your personal belongings. As a property manager, there is nothing worse than a tenant calling after move-in to complain that the house is dirty. This sort of phone call can tarnish a landlord/tenant relationship from the get-go, so do your part to make sure it never happens in the first place.
4. Nobody is going to treat your house like you did (sorry!) –
This one is always a tough pill for our landlords to swallow. Your home is one of your largest assets. It’s sentimental and holds many great memories, I get it! Unfortunately, your tenants will not have the same emotional connection to the house that you do. Now, this doesn’t mean that they will go bashing holes in the wall – it just means that the special sunroom you had added on to the home may become a storage area for your tenant’s stinky football equipment. Don’t judge them for it.
Of course, this list isn’t exhaustive, but it should be enough to mentally prepare you for the initial phases of your landlord journey. The first few months will be hard, but if you place your trust in your property manager you will be on your way to a smooth and gratifying property rental experience.
If you want to know more about how West End Management & Leasing can take some of the stress out of leasing your home, please feel free to contact me personally at firstname.lastname@example.org and I would be happy to answer any of your questions. 😊
About The Author:
Seth Reeder is the Owner/Broker of West End Management & Leasing, one of the largest residential leasing and property management companies in the St. Louis area.