Tips on Managing Your Own Rental Property
One of the most exciting parts about renting out your own property is the ability to control expenses and ultimately the return on your investment. Hiring a property manager is one option, but for those looking to cut management fees and stay in control of your property, self-managing your private property is the way to go. Taking on the challenge of managing a property yourself can be incredibly rewarding and you’ll notice it immediately.
- How do I engage with my tenants?
- How do I calculate and collect rental payments?
- How do I stay on top of maintenance?
- What’s the best way to action these tips?
How do I engage with my tenants?
Managing your own property can be fairly simple if you follow the golden rules to your management approach. Property management is not just about the property itself, but also about personal relationships between you and the tenant, trades, as well as some of the government bodies you may engage along the way. With this in mind, it pays to have the right mindset for managing.
- Communication: Be clear and concise and specific about dates, times, costs and expectations. No one can read your mind, so if you haven’t stated it clearly there is room for misinterpretation
- Be fair and listen: Not every situation is simple, and many tenants and trades are trying to do the right thing. Don’t jump to conclusions and try to be fair and listen before judging.
- Be open: Encourage your tenants to tell you when there are problems. You want to know as soon as possible, so thank them for reporting them to you.
How do I calculate and collect rental payments?
Calculating and collecting rent is a major part of managing your own property, so it is important to set yourself set up properly at the beginning. Ensuring that you collect your rental payments on time is very important to rental management. It can be very simple to keep track of payments by creating a payments schedule and ensuring the tenant pays on time.
- Calculate your rent by understanding the market, and appropriately pricing your property. It can be really helpful to find out what similar properties in your area are being offered for rent, with a listing presentation report. You can generate one here.
- Establish a regular basis of rental collection – weekly, fortnightly or monthly. We have found that weekly rental collection tends to be a bit too frequent for both tenant and landlord, but fortnightly is ‘just right’. It is common for people to be paid at this frequency, and it also ensures there is a regular contact and payment from the tenant rather than waiting longer periods where the risk increase as more time passes.
- Collecting payment – When collecting rent, most owners will request a direct debit transfer into their bank account, or an automated payment schedule from bank to bank. While this can be very effective, there are two things it cannot solve; if the tenant misses a payment, or pays an incomplete amount, you will need to be on top of bank transfers and payments to be aware this has happened. Also, there is no agreed record of payment between landlord and tenant.
- Receipt – To solve the issues mentioned above, you may like to look into ways of tracking payment. A good option is to create a rental ledger and issue receipts manually.
How do I stay on top of maintenance?
Like most things in life, the first time you deal with something it can be tricky, but the second, third and fourth time it will be ‘no big deal’. Maintenance for your property is much the same. It’s most likely that you will not be the one directly fixing the problem, and so identifying the right person to help solve it is the first step.
Typically an electrician and plumber are able to cover the most critical maintenance tasks, or at least those that are likely to cause an emergency. Once you have found reliable tradies in this area, it’s worth developing a relationship and going back to them for future work so that they are familiar with your property and can solve any problems quickly. Once you have direct contact with the right people, we recommend responding to tenant requests as quickly as possible so they immediately see how much you care about their wellbeing and your property.
One of the biggest complaints about traditional property managers is that they are slow to react which creates unnecessary friction with tenants for the duration of the lease. Act quickly and you will see the benefits.
What’s the best way to action these tips?
Use RentBetter! A number of management tasks are fairly mundane, repetitive and straight forward. RentBetter have worked very hard to automate these tasks and provide you with a better way to find and manage tenants. With RentBetter, once you onboard your tenant, a payment schedule is created for both owner and tenant where you can see payment dates and a ledger based on the history of payments. If a payment is missed or fails for some reason, notifications and alerts are sent to owners and tenants to take action quickly.