How to manage rental properties for DIY landlords

All the things you need to think about when considering managing your own rental properties.

So you are ready to take on managing rental property yourself. Are you prepared to learn how to manage rental properties and deal with all of the headaches that come with them, or should you hire a property manager? The truth is, managing rental property it’s more about managing tenants than managing the property. In this article, we explore various tasks involving owning and managing a rental property from start to finish and provide some insight into all the things that you need to take into account when managing your own rental property.

Benefits of owning Rental Properties

Rental properties not only provide a steady source of income but also offer many additional benefits to landlords. From tax deductions to equity growth, rental property can be an excellent investment for anyone looking to increase their wealth. Managing a rental property involves more than just collecting rent payments, it requires some knowledge and effort from landlords in order to maximize their return on investment. 

What to Know Before Investing in Rental Property?

Before investing in rental property, it is important to understand the risks and rewards associated with this type of investment. You should consider the current market conditions, your financial goals, and the amount of time and money you can dedicate to managing a rental property. It is also important to research local laws and regulations, as these will affect how you manage your rental property. Additionally, it is essential to create a budget and plan for any potential repairs or upgrades that may be required over time. Finally, it is wise to consult with experienced professionals such as real estate agents or attorneys who can provide valuable guidance on the best way to approach investing in rental property.

Finding the right investment property

Finding the right investment property is essential for landlords looking to maximize their rental income. Making sure of the right location, building condition, and potential rent will all contribute to a successful rental business. With so many factors to consider, it can be difficult for landlords to know where to start.

When searching for an investment property, landlords should begin by researching the local area and its crime rate, job market, schools, and access to amenities. Checking out local listings and speaking with experienced real estate agents can also provide valuable insight into what type of property would make a good investment in the area. Landlords should also consider what kind of tenant they are looking for, whether it’s students or professionals, as this will dictate how much rent they can charge and what type of properties they need to look at.

Getting the property ready for Rent

Getting a rental property ready for rent is an important part of managing a successful rental business. At the minimum, it must be safe and habitable based on the local housing codes. It’s important to think about what needs to be done before tenants move in and how to keep your property in well maintain condition during their stay. It’s necessary to determine if any repair and maintenance work needs to be done on the property before it can be rented out. This includes checking for damage from previous tenants or wear-and-tear that may have occurred over time.

It also involves safety inspections of smoke alarms and other potential fire hazards as well as making sure the plumbing and electrical systems are up to code. Additionally, it’s essential that landlords review their local regulations regarding renting out properties and make sure they are compliant with all applicable laws. An inspection by a qualified professional is also recommended before putting a property on the market for rent.

Determine a fair rental price and security deposit

Having an accurate rental price for your rental property can be hugely beneficial when it comes to making a profit from your rental investments. As a landlord, it is important that you determine a fair market price for your rental property in order to attract quality tenants and maximize returns. Here are some tips to help you determine the best rental price for your property.

First, research the local market by going onto popular rental listing sites such as Craiglist, Zillow,, etc. and reviewing comparable properties in the area and their associated rent prices. This will give you insight into what other landlords are charging for similar properties and thus provide an indication of what could work well for yours. Consider setting your rent slightly below the average rate if possible, as this will make it more attractive to potential tenants while still ensuring that you get the return on investment that you need. Finally, don’t forget to set the security deposit amount, it typically ranges between 1x-2x of the rent amount.

Marketing rental property

As a landlord, marketing and advertising your rental property can be one of the most important steps in managing it. The more tenants you can expose your property to, the better chance you’ll have of finding good tenants. Therefore, it’s crucial to create an accurate, detailed rental listing of the property and syndicate it to as many renter’s websites as possible. The listing should include key details like location, size, and features as well as photographs that showcase its best qualities. Once the listing is live, engage with potential renters by responding quickly to inquiries and providing clear answers to questions related to renting costs, pet policies, amenities, ect.

Showing rental properties

Showing rental properties can be a daunting task for anyone who is just starting out in the rental business. It’s important to take your time and assess each prospective tenant as this is the only way to ensure that you have found the right occupant for your property. Taking additional steps to make sure that the viewing goes smoothly can help guarantee that you find someone reliable who will take good care of your home or apartment. 

When showing rentals, it’s best practice to provide interested parties with information about what amenities are available. Prepare a list of questions to prescreen potential tenants such as income, the reason they are moving, and the number of people who will reside at the residence if approved, etc. Additionally, make sure you bring all relevant documents such as application forms, property rules, and policies – this ensures that everyone has the same understanding of expectations and responsibilities.

Screening potential tenants

Screening potential tenants and background check is one of the most important elements when managing a rental property to avoid having to evict tenants down the road. Without proper screening, landlords risk leasing their properties to unqualified or unsuitable tenants, which can lead to eviction and increased costs associated with damage and repairs as well as delinquent rent payments. It’s essential for owners and property managers to be selective about who they allow occupying their units.

The first step toward effective tenant screening is creating comprehensive application criteria, including employment history, income levels, credit score, rental history, criminal records, and references. These criteria should be consistent for each applicant so that all prospective tenants are judged by the same standards. Once applicants have completed all necessary forms and documents, landlords should review all relevant information to determine if they meet set requirements. It’s best practice to screen tenants prior to scheduling a property showing to avoid wasting time for both landlord and potential tenant in cases where tenants are not qualified. 

Setting Rules & Policies

When it comes to managing a rental property, setting rules & policies is a crucial part of the process. Establishing clear expectations and guidelines can help to ensure that the property is managed in an efficient and effective manner, allowing both landlord and tenant to benefit from a successful rental experience. As such, it’s important that prospective landlords take time to consider what rules & policies should be put in place for their rental properties.

Creating suitable rules & policies can involve outlining everything from acceptable behavior of tenants, such as noise level restrictions or pet policies, through to payment deadlines for rent and other fees. Landlords should also make sure they are aware of landlord-tenant laws and local laws which might apply to their properties – such as those concerning safety requirements or habitability standards – so that these can be included in the rules & regulations document.

Signing lease

Signing a lease is an important step in the process of managing a rental property. Before signing the lease, walk through the property with the new tenants and make sure they understand their rights and obligations so that problems can be avoided down the road. As an owner, it’s important to make sure you are protecting your investment while still offering tenants a fair and reasonable agreement.

You should also decide whether or not you will allow pets or smoking in the unit. State clearly on the contract the monthly rent amount, when rent is due, as well as late fees among other things. It’s also wise to provide a detailed list of what repairs or property maintenance tenants are responsible for versus what falls under the landlord’s responsibility.

Finally, take details pictures of the entire property inside and outside of the entire property to document the condition of the property when you hand over the keys to the tenants. These pictures will be greatly useful in determining what you should charge the tenants in terms of property damage and repair when they move out at the end of the lease.

Manage rental properties: Collecting Rent

Good rent collection practices are essential for maintaining consistent cash flow and avoiding problems with tenants. When it comes to collecting rent, the first step is setting up a payment system that fits your needs as a landlord and offers convenience for your tenants. For example, you could offer online payments or automatic bank transfers to make it easy for tenants to pay their rent on time every month. Additionally, sending out reminders before each due date can help ensure that rent is paid in full and on time each month.

Finally, if you have difficulty collecting rent from certain tenants, develop a formal procedure that outlines the consequences of nonpayment and follows through with those consequences when necessary such as the 3 days to pay rent or quit notice.

Establishing Maintenance Protocols

Establishing rental property maintenance protocols for a rental property is essential to maintaining the property, increasing its value, and providing a safe and comfortable environment for tenants. A well-developed maintenance protocol should address both preventative measures and emergency repairs. Taking proactive steps to maintain the property can save time and money over time while also significantly reducing tenant complaints.

A good place to start when establishing a maintenance protocol is with an assessment of the current condition of the rental property. This includes evaluating overall structural integrity, inspecting systems like plumbing, electricity, or HVAC, assessing any damage or wear-and-tear that needs repair, and noting any areas where preventive maintenance might be necessary in order to avoid costly repairs down the road.

Enforcing Rules & Policies 

For property managers and DIY landlords, enforcing rules and regulations is the utmost important part of managing a successful rental property. Establishing clear expectations from the start is the best practice for avoiding unnecessary issues. When it comes to the enforcement of rules and policies, the most important thing is to remain consistent.

Landlords should not be lenient with certain tenants while strict with others; rather, they should treat all tenants fairly. Landlords must also make sure they are up-to-date on all applicable laws in their state or city so that their chosen methods for managing the rental property remain compliant with legal standards. When it comes time for an issue to arise, landlords should take action immediately by addressing any violations quickly and efficiently.

Utilize Property Management Software 

Property management software can be a great asset to DIY landlords. This type of software helps landlords manage their rental properties efficiently and effectively. It can help keep track of tenants, rent payments, maintenance requests, and more. Property management software also allows landlords to easily access reports, property accounting, and analytics to better understand their rental properties. Additionally, it can help reduce paperwork and manual work associated with managing rental properties. Utilizing property management software can help streamline the workflow of your rental business and make it easier for you to manage your rental properties.

Final thoughts 

When it comes to managing a rental property, having an effective plan in place is essential for success. Taking the time to understand your tenants and the local market, as well as having clear communication with all parties involved are key components in running a successful rental business.

Having a full understanding of landlord and tenant law can save you time and money in the long run. Knowing what exactly is expected of you and others will ensure that everyone involved knows their rights and obligations when it comes to leasing out living spaces. Having a good knowledge base also helps protect both parties from potential legal issues down the road. Additionally, staying organized goes hand-in-hand with being knowledgeable; this includes keeping track of payments, records, repair requests, lease agreements, etc.