Could You Make It As A Landlord?…
If you’ve spent a lot of time on various home improvement and DIY projects, and have some capital to spare, you may have toyed around with the idea of renting your house out, and quitting your day job to become a landlord. While there’s a definite attraction to the freedom and independence of being a landlord, many people rush into it without knowing what they’re getting into. Being a landlord is much more than simply collecting rent from your tenants every month. You’ll need to know a thing or two about the law, be adaptable enough to get along with different personality types, and be able to deal with all kinds of issues that can come up. Here are some of the most important things to know about the life of a landlord…
Your Hours Vary a Lot
One of the most important things to know about being a landlord is that your work is going to be far more spontaneous than structured. You’re not going to get to work at 9, have a lunch hour in the middle of the day, and then go home at 5. Some days you may have an hour or less to get through, and other days, you may have to work a 13-hour day. Furthermore, your professional obligations can change at the drop of a hat. It’s pretty common for landlords to head out to a property, expecting to be there for ten minutes to work through a routine issue, then arrive only to find a pipe has burst which needs dealing with immediately. This can instantly turn your ten-minute chat into an ordeal lasting hours. While there will be times where you can schedule your work, if you think you’ll have trouble with these nasty surprises, then being a landlord probably isn’t for you.
You Need to Get Familiar with the Law
If you get to know an experienced landlord, you’ll be amazed at their extensive knowledge of the law. There’s a massive amount of multi-faceted legislation surrounding apartment and house rental. Unless you want to get burned by your tenants, or find yourself being summoned to court, you’ll need to spend some time getting clued up on all the laws regarding tenancies in your country and area. There are questions that you can and can’t ask a prospective tenant in interviews, and fair housing laws which will dictate what is and isn’t counted as discrimination. There are certain regulations you have to stick to when it comes to handling a tenant’s security deposit. In terms of the property itself, there are going to be safety regulations it has to meet, such as installing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and screening the property for health hazards such as lead-based paint, infestations and asbestos. Furthermore, when evicting a tenant, you need to make sure you’re acting within the law, and not impeaching on any of their rights.
There’s A Lot to Learn
It’d be pretty great if all the legalese you have to crunch through as a landlord was the whole story, but sadly, this isn’t the case! You might be a fiercely intelligent person, but if you start out with no experience of being a landlord, you’re inevitably going to go through peaks and troughs, and run into some extremely stressful problems along the way. Sure, you can give yourself a better start by reading everything you can, and speaking to more experienced landlords about their experience. However, in this kind of career, there’s a big learning curve, and real-world experience is the best teacher you could ask for. As we touched on before, things aren’t always as simple as they seem when you’re a landlord. Let’s say that you’ve been renting a property for a while, and one of your tenants calls to say that they saw a mouse in the kitchen. Naturally, you call an exterminator about the problem. Then, you get a call from the exterminator. While they were shining a torch into a crawl space, they found a large patch of mould developing on a wall. Suddenly, a fairly cut-and-dry issue of mice in the property has turned into a mould problem as well, costing much more than you’d thought you’d be paying. Another big part of the landlord’s learning curve is screening tenants. When you get a call from someone interested in renting your property, you might go through all the typical steps for screening them, and think that it’s all going great. However, a month after they’ve moved in, you start having major problems, and are forced to evict them. The logical steps will always be there, but as you become more experienced as a landlord, you’ll rely on solid predictions and your gut instincts more and more. The point is, you’re not going to be able to do everything at first!
Despite All the Challenges, It’s Very Rewarding!
The life of a landlord, as we’ve covered pretty thoroughly, is full of all kinds of challenges, stress factors and headaches. However, there’s also a number of extremely fulfilling elements to it. Obviously, the money isn’t bad if you know how to run your business effectively, and your properties can provide a great nest egg to leave to your kids. There’s also a major benefit in the freedom of being your own boss. Several years in, you’ll be able to look back and glow with pride at what you’ve been able to build with all your hard work. One of the rarely mentioned things that makes being a landlord so rewarding is simply how worthwhile it is. After all, you’re providing a home for another human being! You’re going to develop personal relationships with tenants, and see their families go through all the ups and downs of life. Though tenants will come and go, at the end of your run, you’ll have the knowledge that you did something that made a positive difference to many people’s lives.
Hopefully, this guide has cleared up whether or not becoming a landlord is the right move for you.