Becoming a landlord and renting property to tenants can be a great investment, but it is also a lot of hard work. In fact, according to blogger Brandon Turner of the Huffington Post, many of the approximately 10 million small and medium-sized landlords in the United States are absolutely terrible at their jobs. Not only do landlords have to make sure that their tenants pay their rent on time, but they have to keep up on repairs and make sure their tenants are happy in their homes. Fortunately, there are some tools that can make life as a landlord a little bit easier. Here are just five to keep in mind.
An Online Rental Agreement Service
One of the most important yet most tedious tasks a landlord needs to do is draft rental agreements for tenants. A rental agreement outlines the terms of a lease and includes such crucial information as when rent is due every month, how repairs are handled and what tenants are and are not allowed to do on the property. Drafting a rental agreement is a lot of work, which is why many landlords opt for using an online service, such as Housing.com, that specializes in customized rental agreements. These services allow landlords to enter the basic details of an agreement, while the service itself completes the paperwork and delivers it to the landlord’s home for all parties to sign. Landlords still get the customized agreement that they need, yet they do relatively little of the work themselves.
A Direct Deposit Program
Although the U.S. Postal Service is generally pretty reliable, things can still happen when landlords are expecting rent checks to come in the mail. Checks are rarely lost altogether, but it’s still possible for a landlord to receive a rent check in the mail later than the tenant expected. If a landlord doesn’t want to wait for a rent check to clear, they can decide to receive funds via a direct deposit program. These programs transfer funds directly into the landlord’s bank account directly from a tenant’s account. Many rental companies are using these programs to make paying rent on time easier than ever before, and landlords should have these available for their tenants.
A Rental Property Manager
A rental property management program will track expenses, organize taxes, flag problem tenants, keep track of expiring leases and otherwise do everything necessary for managing rental properties. These programs are fairly common, but Quicken has one that is definitely worth checking out. It allows landlords to track as many as 100 rental properties, and it can help landlords file taxes on said properties when the time comes.
A Rental Agency
According to William Henderson, in an article published in the Houston Chronicle, it’s always a good idea for a landlord to joint a rental agency. An agency can help manage properties, make repairs, place tenants and keep vacancies to a minimum. In short, it does a lot of the heavy lifting that independent landlords would otherwise have to handle themselves.
A Credit Checking Service
Having bad credit shouldn’t immediately disqualify someone from renting a property, but an applicant’s credit score should still be checked regardless since it will help determine whether or not a tenant will have a steady income or pay the rent on time. There are several services that can check an applicant’s credit score, so it’s best to find one that is reliable if a landlord wants to make sure they’re renting their property to someone they can trust.