Successful landlords know that to earn the highest possible return on your real estate investment, you need to protect your rental property. Ensure the property's condition and its value by conducting routine walkthroughs, carefully screening your tenants, and take care of maintenance issues quickly (this will keep good tenants and lower your overall maintenance costs). Review your insurance coverage periodically, to make sure you are legally and financially protecting your property.
Inspections Protect Your Investment
Before your tenant moves into your home, a must is to conduct a detailed move-in inspection that accurately documents the condition of the home. No detail is too small. Take pictures (you probably can't take enough pictures) of the inside of each closet, make notes about any wear and tear on the carpet or the paint and have a clear picture of what the home looks like before the tenant moves in. At the end of the lease term, you’ll do the same detailed inspection and you’ll compare the two reports. That will tell you what kind of damage, if any, was done, and what you can do to use the security deposit towards those damages. You’ll also want to perform periodic walkthroughs throughout the lease so you can be sure the property is being maintained and the tenant is following the terms of the lease. Provide the tenant 'reasonable notice' - best to contact the tenant a day or two before coming over (knocking on the door and asking to immediately come in will likely not go over well).
Preventative Maintenance to Keep Costs Down
To protect the value of your asset, you need to make sure it is well maintained and functioning properly. Use the inspections as well as periods of turnover to make sure that all of your systems are running smoothly and there isn’t any deferred maintenance that has developed over the months or years. A proactive approach to maintenance will keep your costs low and your returns high. For example, look for leaking sinks and clear the gutters twice a year. Have your air conditioning system serviced annually so you can extend its lifespan and avoid expensive replacements.
Thorough Tenant Screening
Tenant screening is one of the best ways to protect your property. The best tenants have a history of treating their rental homes well. They pay rent on time and make your life easy. Taking the time to properly screen your tenants before you hand over the keys is one of the most important aspects of successful property management. Tenant damage is usually a result of landlords not screening their tenants. If you have no idea who is moving into your property, you’re putting yourself at risk.
Maintain Adequate Insurance
Develop a good relationship with your insurance agent, and make sure you are adequately covered. At a minimum, you need a landlord insurance policy that will cover your property as well as any rental income that may be lost if you suffer a catastrophe and your tenants need to move out. You also need liability coverage. We recommend that you ask your tenants to carry renter’s insurance and it’s very important that you only work with vendors who are licensed and insured. These are just a few ways to protect your rental property. If you have any questions, please contact us at Orlando Realty and Property Management.