When you first went ahead and became a landlord, you probably didn’t think it would be this much work. Chasing tenants for rent, receiving angry phone calls from sleepless neighbors, having to organize boiler repair; the list goes on. The worst part of it all, though, must be the moment you step into your rental investment for the first time in awhile, only to discover that your ideal tenant was – not so ideal, after all.
The amount of damage people can do to a property far outweighs the deposit you have as a backup. Broken windows, carpets that have disappeared mysteriously, and a number of odd repairs you have to carry out which your tenants deny responsibility for; at the end of the day, you should perhaps have completed that tenant screening, after all.
The first impression
Alright, so most of us prefer to give people the benefit of the doubt. We’re sympathetic creatures, at least most of the time, to the extent that we’re willing to trust someone blindly and naively even though they showed up late, looked like a mess, and seemed distracted. Maybe they just had a bad day, you reckon, as we all have from time to time – but when it comes to selecting a tenant, you really should listen to your gut feeling.
Someone who doesn’t give you a quick call to let you know they’re running late, shows up looking like they just woke up, and barely looks you in the eye when you meet, is not likely to care about the appearance of your property. It may very well be that they overslept this one day and couldn’t find your phone number, for some reason, but then they’re probably going to be on time for their next appointment and can give someone else an excellent first impression.
Move on to the next one, and eliminate the danger of renting out your property to someone who may be sloppy and irresponsible.
Call their landlord
This is another one that a lot of freshly baked landlords try to avoid by all means. It’s the same feeling an employer has when she actually makes that call to their previous employer; it feels like it’s done in bad faith, and might leave you with a strange sense of guilt – but it is the responsible thing to do.
Maybe you’ll have a quick phone call where their former or current landlord says the tenant is excellent, clean and well-liked by all, but you may very well hear quite the opposite about them.If they continuously paid rent late, even withheld it and refused to move out, knocked a hole in the wall and harassed their neighbors, you’d like to know about, right?
Get that call over with and rest assured that you’ve made the right decision. If you feel like the work of being a landlord is turning into a full-time job you’re not willing to handle, consider hiring a professional real estate company to take care of it for you; Phoenix Property Management is a good place to start or find a reputable company in your area.
Being a landlord isn’t for everyone, and especially not if you’re less than willing to get your hands dirty to do the various work a rental property requires. If you find that perfect tenant, someone who takes pride in living neatly and being friendly to their neighbors, you’d want to keep them around for as long as possible.
They have the power to make your landlord experience glorious and easy or catastrophic and expensive.