Becoming a DIY Landlord? 3 Mistakes to Avoid

Posted by Justin Cory on Thursday, December 23rd, 2021 at 10:37am.

being a landlord

While seeking to cut down on expenses and have more control over the goings-on of the property, some landlords may consider becoming a DIY landlords. However, without prior experience, and industry knowledge, there are some common mistakes that most landlords make. 

The team from Cory Real Estate Services seeks to inform landlords of a few mistakes that they can avoid. We have a reputation in Clarksville and beyond as a service provider who comprehensively meets the needs of their clients.

Keep on reading if you want to learn how to avoid potentially costly mistakes while managing your property. 

Don’t Skip Regular Property Inspections 

It’s your duty as a landlord to provide your tenants with a habitable environment to live in. This means you must ensure that everything is working as it should be in the unit. You must also promptly respond to tenants' maintenance and repair requests when they come up. 

You should therefore regularly inspect the property, both inside and out to ensure that it is being maintained in a good condition. High priority items that you should check every time include: 

  • Fixtures and fittings 
  • Carbon monoxide and smoke detectors 
  • Home appliances and systems such as HVAC, plumbing, and electrical systems 
  • Presence of safety hazards 
  • Sanitary hazards like mold or pest infestations

DYI landlords

In order to perform these inspections and repairs, you’ll need to access the tenant's unit. Be sure that you send the proper notice and follow local and state landlord entry laws before doing so. It’s recommended that you read Tennessee’s provision on Landlord-Tenant laws.

Conducting regular inspections allows you to identify any property defects early and nip them in the bud. Such a proactive move reduces the cost of property maintenance and replacement costs of appliances in the long run. Regular inspections allow you to also check on whether or not the tenant has been following the terms of the lease agreement.

The results of the inspection should also inform the maintenance of the property. A comprehensive maintenance plan will keep the property in a good condition all year long. What’s more, tenants appreciate a well-maintained property and will likely want to renew their lease.

Ensure that You have a Written Lease Agreement 

Leasing your properties using ‘handshake’ and ‘gentlemen’ agreements can be risky. These kinds of agreements do not provide either party with a definitive frame of reference if an issue or disagreement occurs. 

The lease agreement is a legally binding contract that establishes the rights and responsibilities of the landlord and tenants signing it. Because of the importance of a lease agreement, it’s vital to have it in writing. It’s also nearly impossible to enforce the terms of the lease agreement on any tenants with a ‘handshake’ or ‘gentlemen’ agreement.

preparing leasing documents

A well-done lease agreement for your residential rental property can serve as a shield during and after the tenant’s occupation of your premises. It can be the document that saves you from a long legal battle. 

When drafting a lease agreement make it as detailed as possible to avoid issues and disputes during the tenancy. You must also ensure that you follow local, state, and federal laws when drafting the agreement. 

If you aren’t sure of what to include or what laws to follow it’s best to reach out to a professional property management company for help. 

Have a Comprehensive Tenant Screening Process 

Another common mistake among DIY landlords is not taking the time to screen all potential tenants. Your focus may be on limiting vacancies and/ or long periods of vacancy. However, this desperation can force landlords to make a hasty decision when it comes to the type of tenant they allow into the rental.

Imagine having a problematic tenant who doesn’t pay their rent on time, fails to maintain the property in a reasonable manner, and doesn’t relate well with the neighbors. Having a difficult tenant staying in your rental can be costly and frustrating.

You want to ensure that when you screen prospective tenants that you’re performing criminal checks, background checks, social security verification, credit history, employment, and rental history checks. It’s also wise to ask for references from previous landlords to get a better idea of what they were like as a renter.

screening prospective tenants

When running these checks however be sure that you are always following the laws stated in the Fair Housing Act. Once again, if you need help managing this aspect or have questions about legal compliance, it’s best to reach out to property management experts. 

Conclusion 

There are many steps involved in running and managing a rental property. You have to be sure that you have a comprehensive lease agreement, that you screen all prospective tenants, regularly inspect your rentals, comply with local, state, and federal laws, and so much more. 

Are you worried that you might be out of your depth? Management of your property determines the viability of your investment in real estate. Without the experience, the condition of your property could deteriorate and the quality of service offered to your tenants will be sub-par. Rely on the services of the expert property managers at Cory Real Estate Services. 

We are the leading property management company in Clarksville, TN. As a full-service management company, we have the staff, tools, and industry knowledge to offer a wide range of services. With us as your property partner, you can enjoy the benefits of owning and leasing property. Get in touch today and request a quote for our management services!

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