what do I need to know as a landlord?
A lot of people hesitate to get into real estate investing because they don't want to be a landlord. They do not want to deal with nightmare tenants, nor do they want to field calls at midnight about a plumbing leak. While we totally get that, we also feel like it's important to keep in mind that most people we know actually like their tenants and don't find land lording all that hard.
5 tips for LAND LORDs
tip 1: AVOID A LARGE YARD
Yards are only going to get more expensive.
Unless you are buying a large yard with the intention of splitting the lot and adding another property, avoid properties with large yards.
Why should you avoid a large yard? Because large yards require maintenance and are expensive. Water costs in Colorado Springs are increasing rapidly and this will increase your monthly costs. And while xeriscaping is an option, it's also not cheap.
Learn from our mistake: we have a huge yard that we've xeriscaped. The xeriscaping has led to the dying of the trees in our yard (without grass to water, the trees aren't getting watered either), and we will now also be paying to have the trees taken out to avoid property damage in a storm (aka, the December 15, 2021 Colorado Springs wind event.)
tip 2: COMMUNICATION IS KEY TO SCREENING
Difficult applicants are difficult tenants.
Regardless of whether or not your future tenant is hard to reach or asking for a ton of changes in the lease, let this be a sign to you. However they act as an applicant is how they will act as a tenant. Leopards don't change their spots.
tip 3: ONLINE APPLICATIONS (ZILLOW)
Zillow is awesome.
Zillow rental manager will make the land lord and the tenant's life easier. It consolidates applications for the land lord and it saves the tenant money.
tip 4: fix Stuff
Fix stuff early and often to save yourself money.
Ignoring problems can cost you money. We had a couch that had a few questionable stains on it that we dismissed as not that big of a deal... only to find out that not one but two different tenants, did consider it a big deal. This lapse in judgement on our part resulted in higher vacancy rates than we had anticipated and caused conflict with our tenants. After we replaced the couch, we have had no complaints and have had no issues with vacancies.
Point being: if you notice something unpleasant at your property or there is a pattern of your tenants noticing something unpleasant on your property, it makes sense to address the issue early and often.
tip 5: Cleaning fee + requirement
Have the tenants handle the cleaning.
We've found scheduling reliable cleaners to be a challenge since 2021 and are starting to build cleaning fees into our leases... the way land lords did before STRs. We now pass the cleaning fee onto our tenants (regardless of their length of stay) and hold the deposit until the next tenant comes in and signs off on the property. Doing this will you avoid cleaning and scheduling headaches.