The top 7 mistakes landlords make and how to avoid them

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As a landlord, you like the idea of growing an investment while getting additional income, but managing a property often requires juggling multiple balls and staying alert to common pitfalls. Here are seven ways to avoid costly mistakes.

Screen tenants thoroughly

You’ve heard the nightmare stories of bad tenants that have ended up costing landlords thousands in property damage, lost rent, and lengthy evictions. Properly vetting your tenants through a multipronged screening process is the main way to ensure a positive experience and protect your investment.
PRO TIP: A good property manager will have a indepth tenant screening process to find the best renters that includes a formal application form, credit check, and income verification.

Setup online rent collection

Not having electronic rental payments can be time-consuming, tedious, and inefficient, requiring manual effort, risking human error, long delays, and more. With online payments, renters can pay on time and contact-free, while owners get stress-free deposits and can take care of expenses predictably and quickly.
PRO TIP: Providing a user-friendly portal or website that allows renters to use any type of device to pay their rent is the key to making online rental payments simple and accessible.

Take out the right insurance

Cut-rate or generic insurance policies can leave you disastrously short of coverage in the event of an accident. Getting the right level and type of coverage for different situations takes care of liability issues, protecting the asset and the landlord.
PRO TIP: Check your policy for coverage for vandalism and theft, which are not always covered in a typical investor dwelling policy.

Maximize rental yield while reducing vacancy

No one wants to lose rental income to vacancies or deal with the headaches of high tenant turnover. Keep the tenants you have in place longer with a good rental experience based on proactive communication and responsiveness.
PRO TIP: If you have a vacancy, use self-showing technology like a smart lock so prospective tenants can see the property whenever it’s convenient for them. It’s very popular with tenants today who have busy schedules and enjoy doing things themselves, and it helps you automate and systemize your leasing process.

Never skimp on repairs

Skimping on repairs is likely to lose you tenants and may end up causing larger, more costly damage. Ensure a good tenant experience while still managing costs with a well mapped-out repair and maintenance strategy that includes preventive measures, annual inspections, and strong vendor relationships.
PRO TIP: A savvy, tech-enabled property manager makes it easy for residents to submit service requests, finds discounts, and handles repairs efficiently and with transparency.

Advertise effectively

One social media post is never enough! Even if your property is the best on the rental market, the right tenants are not going to know about it without great advertising. When you advertise well, you attract a larger pool of more qualified tenants. This means having the best photos, the right description copy, and distributing your listing strategically.
PRO TIP: A good property manager will list a home across all 40 major sites to attract the highest number of quality renters.

Comply with local laws

Rental laws and regulations are complex and regularly changing. Not knowing your rights and obligations as a landlord can result in costly and disruptive legal headaches. Simple steps, like documenting every interaction and staying abreast of legal requirements in your area can help you avoid lost income, or worse.
PRO TIP: A knowledgeable property manager will help ensure legal compliance from local ordinances to state and federal housing laws. For example, some states like Arizona require a locally based property management company.
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