Being a landlord is rarely as easy as people make it out to be. Sure, if you have a terrific tenant that pays their dues on time and keeps your real estate in proper order, you won’t have to worry much. But, more often than not, landlords have to solve issues and handle difficult tenants, which makes their vocation difficult. Furthermore, if they make certain mistakes along the way, their tenure as a landlord can soon turn from difficult to impossible. So, to help you out, Joel Real Estate will cover some of the top mistakes Dallas landlords must avoid.
Mistakes Dallas landlords must avoid
If you have just bought a luxury property, or a regular one for that matter, and are new to being a landlord, we would strongly advise you to research the subject as much as possible. You can avoid many mistakes by knowing what you are getting into and, more importantly, by learning from other landlords. Unfortunately, we cannot cover all the aspects of being a landlord in this article. This is why we advise you to continue reading about what being a landlord is all about and use this article as a stepping stone.
Not checking the tenant’s background
One of the first things you will learn as a landlord is that good tenants are hard to find. Sure, most people seem decent when you meet them. But it is not their first impression that will determine how reliable of a tenant they will be. For that, you need to inquire about their past. Ideally, they will have prior landlords to describe them to you and vouch for their character.
However, you need to learn some necessary interview skills in order to size up your tenant. Some of the things that you should ask are
- Prior experience with landlords. – If they only mention that previous landlords were terrible, know that there is something suspicious.
- Job situation. – A person without a steady job may have a hard time paying rent.
- Family background. – A general rule of thumb is that a person with a good family will have a proper upbringing and will therefore take decent care of their property.
One of the biggest mistakes is choosing a tenant simply because you like their demeanor. The more you can learn about them, the better the odds of finding one that won’t cause you headaches.
Not documenting the condition of the home
One of the things that landlords often forget is to document the home’s condition before the tenant moves in. No matter how careful your tenant is, an issue will come up with the apartment. Be it appliances, wiring, or plumbing; there will be a problem that needs to be taken care of. If this problem is not the tenant’s fault, but merely an issue caused due to continual use, it will be your obligation to take care of it. But, if it is an issue caused by tenant misuse, it should be their job to address it.
It won’t take long for a bad tenant to cause such an issue, regardless of how much they like the home features. And if they do, you might run into one of the common problems landlords face, which is convincing your tenant that they should fix it. If they ignore it or postpone fixing it, they might claim that the issue was already present when they moved in. And while you know that it isn’t so, proving it in court may be difficult.
This is one of the reasons why documenting the condition of your home is a must. Know that even if you have homeowners insurance, it probably won’t completely cover you as a landlord. Therefore, you need to outline that everything is in working order and that the tenants agree with the assessment. Ideally, you will also have photos as evidence. That way, if there is an issue, you will have clear before and after images to compare.
Not being familiar with the neighborhood
As we mentioned, it will be your job as a landlord to maintain your property. Now, remember that Dallas, TX is a big place. Therefore, unless you are familiar with the neighborhood and the handymen that operate in it, you will have a hard time doing so. By knowing the moving professionals from the area, you can even help your tenants relocate and therefore build a good relationship. Or you can hire them to store extra items from your leased home if need be.
Meet your neighbors, even if you don’t plan on living here, and try to maintain good relations. Having friendly neighbors can prove quite valuable when it comes to reporting suspicious activity from your tenants. Furthermore, if there are difficult or obnoxious neighbors, you can let your tenants know and make their lives that much easier. All in all, one of the top mistakes Dallas landlords must avoid is not knowing the area where they operate.
Irregular rent collection
Say that you are one of the more privileged Dallas landlords who don’t have to rely on rent collection to make ends meet. In that case, you might postpone collecting the rent from time to time. After all, the rent day might not suit you on occasion. This, as it turns out, is one of the top mistakes you need to avoid.
One of the rules you need to follow as a landlord is that you need to pick up the rent on a strict schedule. Sure, if your tenant is reliable, you can relax a bit and not worry about every rent. But, if you are not serious about collecting rent, your tenants won’t be about paying it. You may find responsible ones that will have the rent, whether you come for it or not. But others will use your irregularity as an excuse to be late. So, do not put yourself in a difficult position and keep a regular rent collection schedule.