Thursday, August 25, 2011

To be a Landlord

So you want to be a landlord, there are advantages .... writing off the interest on the mortgage, insurance payments, repairs etc while your tenant pays down the cost of the house as (hopefully lol) the value goes up. This is what I've learned having a few home rentals on the go and you can decide if its for you or not.  A) Location (like your principle residence) is key, as you want the price of your rental to go up so make sure the area is desirable, also if you can afford it look for a duplex or triplex so if one renter leaves you still have income coming in.  B) Borrow as much as possible for the building,  follow the Golden Rule  (get wealthy by using someone else's money) so you get the tax benefit of writing off the mortgage interest (more borrowed, more interest) to offset the rent as that's considered an income plus this way your keeping
your own money to pay down your own mortgage/bills and putting the extra into other investments. Also most banks will ask for15-20% down payment because they deem it a business, so what i did was lived in
the house for awhile that way there was a
lower minimum amount required (as its considered principle residence), then moved out and started being a landlord. C) Try to be handy with repairs or have friends who are as paying a tradesmen for all your issues will make you not want to be in the business. Or I always looked for a tenant who was of that talent and i reduced the rent for them so a win/win as they took pride in their work as they got paid for it and you had no worries with all the little things that would arise.....and trust me, everything does gets beat up a lot quicker than your own home. On that thought, at first i had to keep telling myself not to be in "love" with the property, as it was an investment and don't be disappointed if your folks didn't keep it just so. For example i went with commercial carpet or laminate hardwood floors, stuff that is durable  but it wouldn't be what i would use in my own residence   D)  Look for smaller yards as its less to take care off and a deterrent for those big backyard bashes   E) Be
diligent in collecting the rent and trust me you ll hear every story you could ever imagine why they are not able to make the deadline   F) On that note, if you find good tenants do everything possible to keep them by maybe reducing the rent, upgrade the washer/dryer, buy them a vacuum cleaner etc, as all landlords have horror stories so well worth doing the little things to keep your sanity  G) Finally my experience with management companies that collect rent/screen applicants hasn't been good, they charge 50% first months rent  then usually 10% for each month after. Some issues i had is they would never go out to check the property as they had the tenant mailed in post dates and that's what you want as a landlord is those 'eyes' to protect your investment by going to your rental for a physical check Or when checking out references they would call the names on the applications, which turned out most times it was relatives who gave glowing reviews only to find out to my chagrin  not so good, plus the process cost you hundreds of dollars! (half first months rent)  So there is my list of the dos and dont's and have known some folks that have done very well in the landlord game.....i had my taste of it, personally i rather have a piece of paper (stock/mutual fund) that doesn't call me on a weekend night saying the toilet is plugged or Aunt Mabel needs a kidney transplant (true story!!) and needs the rent money to be bedside lol

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