Managing rental property requires knowledge and experience in order to do a good job. Unfortunately, not all landlords are equipped for the task. They are often too busy, not educated in property management, unorganized, lazy, or sometimes just incompetent. We frequently wonder how they are able to accumulate rental property with their lack of skills.

For a landlord, preparation for the problems that will arise is crucial. Being helpful, friendly, and courteous are important personality traits a good landlord must master. Most income property owners don’t realize the importance of making schedules for upkeep and repairs and following those schedules. The successful landlords we know inspect their properties on a regular schedule and then schedule needed repairs. Of course, having cash reserves for unexpected repairs is a must.

If an owner works hard at keeping the property well maintained, he can set a standard that he expects the tenants to meet. An owner never wants to have to make excuses for the way a property is managed or maintained. It is very difficult to expect tenants to live responsibly if the owner is not responsible. When interviewing a new tenant, a good landlord will walk around the property with them, showing the tenant how important the condition of the property is. Making the prospective tenant aware that respect for the property is expected is important; if they do not feel the same way, you are better off asking them to find another place to live.

Good property managers do not try to be “friends” with tenants. Good landlords make the rules and enforce them. Property managers need to be able to listen and be proactive when issues arise.

Like anything else, if you are considering buying rental property, or if you already own some, you should always take the time to educate yourself. There are many good books you can read and the local community colleges have many classes on real estate, accounting and general management.

There are always going to be bad tenants, tenants who pay late, etc. Some are destructive to the property; others are dirty, poor housekeepers, and worse. The problem tenants are usually the first to complain to, and about, the property owners. Some are “high maintenance” with a lot of drama and issues in their daily lives. Immediately addressing problems when they arise is probably the single most important thing a property owner can do.

We have owned and managed many rental properties for decades. The job is never ending and there is no such as “a perfect world”, but we hold ourselves to high standards and don’t accept anything less from our tenants. We think this approach works out well for all concerned.