More and more people are turning to real estate as a way to generate extra income while being able to keep their full-time jobs. Depending on your level of involvement, you can dedicate anywhere from half an hour to three hours a week to the upkeep and management of your property. All the while, you’re benefiting from the fact that your tenants are paying your mortgage and you are gaining equity on the property in most cases.
However, just like any business, it takes work to make sure that your tenants are pleased, the property is in good condition, and that you are making a profit or at least breaking even with the rent. No likes an absent landlord, and even if you are not physically close and able to tend to it yourself, you should be reactive and quick to communicate and deal with outstanding issues.
Here are 4 numbers you should keep on speed dial if you are looking to be a stellar landlord:
- Property Management
Everyone has their own way of doing things. Some property owners hire a property management group to help with running the rental property, such as landscaping, cleaning, collecting rent checks, dealing with work orders and more. Others have an agreement with one of the tenants who acts as a superintendent and deals with the same things as a management group would. If you are not managing the building full-time and use the help of one of these options, it’s important to have a clear and direct line of communication with these individuals. They are your eyes and feet on the ground, so you should feel confident that you can reach them any time of the day.
Depending on how many tenants you have in your property, this might be unrealistic. But if the number is manageable, you should have all of them programmed into your phone along with their unit number. This is key for when you need to access their apartment for maintenance work, a showing, or during an emergency. Your tenants should also feel like they can talk with you directly if they are unsatisfied with something or would like to discuss the conditions of their lease. You might want to consider creating a contact “group” through which you can blast text important news like the water being unavailable for a few hours, or a reminder about routine inspections.
- Emergency Technicians
Whether you work alone, with a superintendent, or a management group, chances are that your collective skills will only go so far. Unavoidably, there will be situations in which a handyman will only throw up his hands in desperation and walk away. That’s when you need to call a fast and professional service to install and fix your household appliances. Otherwise, your tenants may get frustrated and demand compensation for their troubles. Even worse, they could get fed up and start looking for a different home altogether. Having technicians like this on speed dial means that you can call them between meetings at work, etc., and don’t just start doing your research then. Remember, the clock is ticking!
Whether a tree fell on your property and damaged the roof, or there was an electrical fire in one of the units, the insurance company should be one of the first numbers you call. Sometimes trying to deal with the problem without calling the insurance company first can void your agreement, so consulting them every step of the way is crucial to getting maximum support from them. It’s also nice to have them on speed dial in case you have any questions regarding your policy or would like to update some crucial information which could land you a discounted rate.
If you take on the role of a landlord, apart from your personal numbers, you will most likely have to start saving some “business” related ones on your phone. Remember that good communication is essential in maintaining good relationships with your tenants, your contractors, and any other services and companies you might need in the future. Having this “phone book” on hand at every moment will make you more responsive and resilient to possible emergencies, an important part of maintaining your real estate investment.