Note: This post was written in 2012 by the previous owner of this blog.
I own 2 rental properties and there are days when I just want to get rid of them. Don’t get me wrong, they make great investments if you have tenants and if you don’t hear from your tenants. Unfortunately, there have been several occasions when I did not have a tenant and I heard from them too often about problems.
I’ve dealt with everything from the 2AM call that the water heater burst and is leaking to the 5AM wake up call that a pipe burst and the basement is flooded. There have been several other issues, such as a broken furnace, roof leak, etc.
If you’re thinking about owning rental properties, here are some practical things to consider over and above the usual advice:
Have a realtor find you tenants
I’ve always had success using Craigslist, but lately, the Craigslist advertisements have gotten me nowhere. Realtors have access to many more renters through the MLS system. Will it cost you money? Sure, but it’s worth the headache of not having to schedule appointments to show the property.
Have a good reliable contractor to do handy work
This can be a valuable investment because they’ll give you a good deal if they know you’ll call them for all your issues. You can find a good local one on Yelp.
Get a PO Box and Google Voice Number
You never want your tenants to know where you live or your actual cell phone number. It’s better if they call your voicemail number and you can check it daily on your free time. About the address, if there are bitter feelings afterward, you don’t want them knocking on your door and exacting revenge if you kick them out.
Have a back-up contact if you’re not available
I took a 5 hour flight from Philly to San Francisco only to land and find out that my tenants have been trying to contact me because they’re heater broke. Needless to say, giving them a second person to contact in the event of a real emergency is important.
Don’t be friends with your tenants but treat them nice
You need to be tough at times. It’s hard being tough to your friends. So remember that tenants are tenants, not friends. On the other hand, you also don’t want them to trash the place or call you for every minor repair. There’s a good balance that can be reached by being nice, but not being too personal.
Are there any other practical tips I missed?