While managing rental property isn’t rocket science, it’s certainly no walk in the park either. Knowing what challenges to expect, and how to prevent them will be paramount to success. Maintaining your freedom as a property owner is very attainable, and can be done by automating your business, and establishing healthy boundaries with your tenants and caretakers.
If you’re a property owner with too little time to manage your properties, then consider hiring a caretaker. A caretaker can take care of problems around your properties, including general handyman work, grounds maintenance, gardening, and more. It’s important to choose a caretaker that will respect your boundaries, and will accept the responsibilities you outsource to them with care and professionalism. So if you’re looking to be free, make sure your caretaker is someone that your tenants can reach in case they run into any problems. Ensure that your property manager understands that you are only to be reached for problems that they can’t solve.
Now, it’s important to note that your caretaker may need things like paint, tools, nails, or equipment to solve certain problems. While we would like them to be fully autonomous, it may be wise to ensure they check in with you before making any purchases. This will depend on how you prefer to manage your wealth, and how much faith you have in his or her judgment. You and your caretaker can plan contingencies for common problems, which will give them actionable plans that won’t eat up any of your time. This will help you maximize your freedom.
Payments Made Easy
Payment collection is critical to any business. If you treat your rental properties as a business, you know that payment collection is central to the success or failure of a rental business. As such, you’ll want to develop a uniform process for collecting payments. Considering the pandemic that’s currently taking place, digital payment methods are rapidly becoming the new normal. That’s because they make collecting payments easy, contactless, and timely.
Choosing a payment method, however, is another matter. While there are many options to choose from, not all are created equal. Landlords agree that Automated Clearing House (ACH) payments are the most reliable, because the ACH network is a nationwide financial system that provides payment oversight between tenants and landlords. The best part about ACH payments is the automation, so landlords won’t have to follow up with tenants to ensure payments have been made.
Other digital payment methods include Zelle, PayPal, Venmo, Square, and Apple Pay. Each of these services come with their own caveats, including the ability to reverse charges. Exercise caution and familiarize yourself with the terms and conditions of each of these methods before utilizing them. Some tenants may prefer checks. For freedom’s sake, this responsibility can be delineated to your caretaker, provided that’s something you’re comfortable with. It’s an added benefit that can help you save time, and is an option worth investigating with your caretaker.
Property Management Software
Automation is an essential element to maximizing your freedom. Luckily, there are all-in-one property management solutions that empower you to manage your properties with ease. Through the use of property management software, you can do things like automate payment collection, review and manage maintenance requests, and even conduct screenings of prospective tenants.
As with payment methods, there are plenty of options for landlords to choose from. These options include Propertyware, Appfolio, and Buildium, to name a few. I personally recommend Propertyware if you’re looking to manage small to medium sized rental portfolios. These are typically the most popular property management software options, but that doesn’t mean they’re perfect. Utilize review sites like Capterra.com to learn more about the software, and see which ones fit your needs best.
Arguably the most crucial element when it comes to managing any multiplex, duplex, or home, the tenants that fill them can make-or-break your experience as a property manager. It’s important to thoroughly screen your tenants before signing the dotted line, and ensure that they’re reliable, responsible, and respectful. While this may seem basic, it will be an essential step when it comes to setting boundaries with your tenants.
From day one, it’s important to set clear boundaries with your tenants. Make sure they understand when to call you instead of your caretaker. This is done by clearly defining what constitutes general maintenance, which is the caretaker’s responsibility, versus an actual emergency where you might need to be involved. Be sure to make a clause in your rental agreement that makes the distinction, but follow it up with a verbal conversation. This will help mitigate contact between you and the tenant, which will help free up your schedule.
You deserve to have a life. By following these tips you'll be well on your way to having a healthier relationship with both your properties and tenants. In turn, you'll find yourself better prepared to deal with hiccups that will inevitably come up, while also mitigating the damage of those hiccups.