Turning a home you or your family member once lived in into an income-producing real estate investment can be lucrative and financially rewarding. It can also be stressful and emotional.
When you begin renting out a home, you have to remember that it’s a business. To be successful, you have to treat it as a business and not a treasured heirloom. The rosebushes out front might not look as great as they did when your mother lived there, and the old mahogany doors that your father installed 50 years ago might deteriorate faster when tenants are living in the home.
Prepare yourself to let go of the emotional attachment you may have to the home.
There are several good ways to do that.
Make Business Decisions, Not Emotional Decisions
As soon as you decide to rent a property out to tenants, that rental property is no longer your home or your family member’s home. It’s a business. It has to be treated that way. Be consistent with the way you treat tenants, set up some policies and procedures that are easy to enforce, and then follow those systems. Trust that they will work.
This starts when you’re choosing a tenant. You don’t want to look for a person you like. Not only is this a potentially bad business decision, it can also get you in trouble with fair housing laws. You’re looking for a resident who meets your rental criteria. Set up some criteria that considers:
- Financial history and stability.
- Income and employment.
- Criminal and eviction histories.
- Rental history and landlord references.
The tenant you place will have a huge impact on your rental experience, and it’s easy for owners to become sensitive or emotional when choosing a resident. Don’t go with your gut and don’t trust your instincts. Put together a fair and rigorous screening process and choose the tenant who meets all your requirements.
Maintenance, Rent Collection and Lease Enforcement
You’ll need to respond swiftly and quickly to repair requests and maintenance issues. Perhaps you’re renting out a home that you once lived in yourself. You know about the broken dishwasher door, but you’ve lived with it for years, and it’s probably not a bit deal to you. Tenants, however, are going to want an appliance in excellent condition. They’re going to expect you to fix all the minor things that never bothered you.
Rent collection has to be consistent and timely. If you let a tenant pay late because you feel badly about the financial troubles they’re having, you’re going to find yourself losing money. Enforce your lease, charge late fees when the rent is paid late, and demonstrate to your tenants that you’re serious about the policies you have in place. Saying one thing and doing another will make it hard for tenants to trust you, and they’ll quickly learn exactly what they can get away with.
Grand Rapids Property Management
Keeping an emotional distance from a home that’s important to you can be difficult. It’s also challenging to stay up to date on all the laws and requirements that are in place when it comes to renting out a property. You have to understand the fair housing laws and the security deposit regulations. You need to know the difference between a pet and an emotional support animal.
This requires a lot of time and expertise. Relying on professional Grand Rapids property managers can help you have a better rental experience. You’ll have a professional and experienced buffer between you and your tenants and you and your property.
We can talk you though this. Contact our talented team at Short South Realty Group.