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Common Questions Asked by Rental Property Owners

Common Questions Asked by Rental Property Owners

Whether you’re exploring rental property ownership for the very first time or you have a full portfolio of properties you’ve managed for years, there are some questions that continue to be popular. The answers can vary depending on the current state of the market and other rental-related factors. But these are some of those common questions posed by rental property owners, with relevant answers for today’s renting conditions.

What Do I Need to Know About Property Investment Protection?

When you invest in rental property, you then look for ways to preserve and capitalize on that investment. Here are several common questions, along with answers that today’s rental property owners can tap into for investment preservation success.

How often should I schedule property inspections?

Because property conditions break down over time, it’s important to have home inspections ongoing. A certified professional inspector or CPI can come in with an objective eye and report back to you on needed repairs, maintenance issues, or safety concerns. It’s generally recommended that you have an inspection performed on your rental property annually or seasonally, as needed. You can then stay ahead of more costly repairs or component failures. And you’ll preserve your investment for the long-term.

What actually needs to be done to make my property move-in ready?

There are aesthetics, like new carpeting or updated appliances, that will make your property more marketable. But the basic, move-in-ready components involve the essential provisions, protection, and safety. You can make improvements after a resident takes occupancy. But they can’t move in if there’s a hole in the roof, the water isn’t running, and temperature controls aren’t operational. Safety railings need to be secure, and working smoke detectors need to be present. An inspection can determine any additional move-in-ready steps you’ll need to take.

How should I handle repair requests?

Handle all repair requests promptly, not just for the satisfaction of your residents but also to protect your investment. A leaking water heater can turn into a flooded basement if you take too long to address it. 

How can I protect my investment regarding resident damages?

Even residents with the best intentions can still accidentally cause damage to your property. Expect damage to occur and lay in provisions to help reduce your risks, including rent deposits, rental insurance, and a roster of on-call contractors who can make quick repairs.

What kind of rental property insurance is best?

Traditional homeowner’s policies won’t apply to property you’re not living in, which is why you need rental property ownership coverage options. Look for affordable policies to help offset costs associated with property damage, lost rent, and general liabilities. You can also explore addendums for flood damage or maintenance expenses to bring properties up to code.

How Can I Find and Keep Great Residents?

This question usually involves layers of best practices and suggestions, depending on your market, the current conditions, and your processes. Here are the deeper-dive questions about how to find and retain the best residents, along with the answers to get you back on track or in the right direction.

Where can I find the best-fit resident candidates?

Everywhere! Don’t stop marketing your rental property, even if it’s occupied. Highlight property amenities and local amenities and perks of the community. You can look to build a waiting list if you routinely advertise your property online. Look to attract everyone from retirees to career-minded young professionals and families. Respond to all applicants no matter what, and keep your funnel full of potential residents you can call when the vacancy occurs.

How should I be prescreening residents?

Be thorough with your prescreening process. Check references, verify employment, and review the credit history. Don’t cut corners, no matter how desperate you may be to fill a space.

How often should I contact my residents?

Resident communication is essential in retaining your best. Reach out with monthly or quarterly newsletters or emails to ensure continued satisfaction. Follow up with them after they’ve submitted a repair request. Check in with them outside of those times you remind them to pay rent and build relationships with them long-term.

What’s the best way for residents to contact me?

Provide transparent times and channels for residents to connect with you. They should be able to reach you in an emergency and when they just have a question. During the lease-signing, review all the ways residents can connect with you and be available when you say you’re going to be.

What Do I Need to Know Regarding Relocation Assistance?

Relocation assistance is typically a monetary subsidy of some kind intended to accommodate residents during a relocation effort. As a rental property owner, relocation assistance can become your burden in certain situations that require a relocation of your existing residents for any reason. Here are some other insights that may be helpful.

When does relocation assistance apply?

There may be some instances when residents will need to be relocated out of your property, not because you’re evicting them. Extensive storm damage, for example, or instances of major property repair may require temporary or permanent relocation.

Who technically qualifies for relocation assistance?

When residents become permanently or temporarily displaced from the property through no fault of their own, they qualify for relocation assistance. HUD describes monetary assistance to compensate for costs like moving expenses and potential housing expenses.

Rent-Related Questions Rental Property Owners Almost Always Ask

Some of the most in-depth considerations and evaluations you’ll have involve rent. And when you’re carving out a rent schedule, lease terms, fees, and details, you’ll likely have these rent-related questions that need answering.

How should I determine the rent amount?

Conduct a market analysis of the rent rates and mortgage rates in the neighborhood. Consult local official guides and requirements regarding current rent regulations, as well. It’s best to review these analytics annually to ensure you’re asking a fair rate and fluctuating in line with market conditions.

How should I plan to handle late payments and non-payment?

Be forthcoming at lease signing about your policies regarding fees and late payments. Residents should be able to predict, with 100% certainty, what your recourse steps will be in charging late fees and sending eviction notices BEFORE they take up residence.

What’s the best practice regarding deposits?

It’s best to collect security deposits to protect yourself and your investment from potential property damage and missed rent. Collect additional deposits for pets or other considerations that apply, as well. The deposit amount should be in line with one month’s rent and cover your direct costs that fall above and beyond the scope of definitions.

Is There a Better Way to Handle Vacancies?

Some of the most anxiety-ridden days as a rental property owner are those days your property sits vacant. Without residents, you’re not making money. So, how can investors minimize the impacts of vacancies, knowing they’re going to be predicted occurrences?

What’s the best way to market my rental property?

Online marketing through multi-platform rental sites is a must. Be present on social media and use signage in front of your property. Take lots of flattering photos, inside and out, to demonstrate the property’s best features. And don’t be afraid of walkthrough videos.

How long is too long for a vacancy?

Expect vacancies. But your processes for marketing should be ongoing to reduce the timelines of those vacancies. Ask past residents for referrals. Network with colleagues about your opening and share property details with local real estate agents. You can also talk with local officials who are responsible for welcome packets to new-to-the-area residents, so your property can be featured.

Should I make exceptions to get my property rented?

No. Create your deal-breakers and then stick to them. While empathy and understanding can lead to negotiated payment arrangements, don’t let the deadlines and requirements slide. A bad-fit resident can become more costly than a vacancy. Don’t rush or cut corners.

This roster of common questions can help you find your most efficient way forward. Property investing can be tricky, even for the savviest of veteran property owners. Let Axel Property Management help provide answers to all your questions and ensure you see continued NOI in any situation.