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As a landlord in the Jacksonville area, you know it isn’t always an easy way to make a living. The job comes with several challenges which you’ll encounter whether you’ve just stepped into the game or you’ve been a landlord for years.
Regardless of how long you’ve been at it, there is always something new to learn. Here a few simple tips and tricks that you can put into practice now to make your job easier and more rewarding!
You’re a Landlord First
The first tip is one of the hardest for some people, but it’s an essential step to establishing the right dynamic between you and your tenants.
- Remember that regardless of how much you may like or sympathize with some of your tenants, you are their landlord and not their friend.
- You have responsibilities surrounding collecting your rents or holding tenants accountable for taking care of the property. Getting too friendly with your renters can make this harder for you to do consistently.
- Tenants may start to feel that they can be flexible on their rent deadlines or that they can get away with stretching terms of the lease if let the business nature of your relationship slide.
While the above isn’t always true, it’s a safer bet to approach your relationships with tenants like a business relationship—this will keep the boundaries clear and your income uninterrupted.
Avoid Risky “Pre-Fab” Leases
Having a well-written lease does wonders for keeping your landlord-tenant boundaries and expectations clear. Writing a lease from scratch isn’t necessarily an easy process, so you might be tempted to look up something online, change some words and phrases, and call it a day. This isn’t a good idea for several reasons:
- Leases are legally binding contracts between you and your tenants, so it’s crucial to get them right.
- You want your lease to comply with landlord-tenant laws for Florida and the Jacksonville area, and there’s no guarantee that a pre-fab lease will check every box—especially one found online!
- Consider that the lease needs to hold up in court.
- If you’re unsure of what you need to have in your lease, you can always hire a lawyer (or a property manager) to write or review your lease.
Is the Price Right?
It can be challenging to settle on the right rent when you first put a property on the market, and keeping up with changing markets doesn’t get easier! To make sure that you’re keeping your properties filled with the right tenants, you need to find the right price for your area.
- If you set your rents low, you won’t have trouble filling your units, but you’ll be missing out on a lot of potential income!
- If you set your rents high, you’ll take in more money from a property, but you’ll struggle to attract renters in the first place.
- Find your “Goldilocks Rate” and you’ll maximize your revenue while keeping your vacancy rates low.
- Don’t neglect the process of keeping up to date with this year after year. Property values and ideal rental rates will change over time. You'll have more success adjusting rental rates incrementally instead of raising them all at once.
Use a Streamlined Screening Process
Setting the right rental rates will help to attract the perfect tenants for you, but it’s still important to do your due diligence in screening the applicants that come in: your tenants are ultimately the ones generating your income. Putting a formal screening process in place does the same thing that a well-written lease does: it keeps expectations clear for you and applicants. Be thorough, and make sure that your process includes:
- Checks on rental history, income, credit score
- Impartiality and avoidance of any potential discrimination
- Consistency when applied towards any potential tenant
Regardless of your people skills, you can never be quite sure how a renter will behave based purely on your intuition. Pre-screening with the right property management company can save you the headache of navigating an influx of tenants.
Bring in a Property Manager
There is a lot that goes into being a landlord. If you’re struggling with everything that you have on your plate, don’t be afraid to lean on your local Jacksonville area property management company. They have the skills, resources, and experience ready to go to bat for you! You can rely on a property manager to handle your documents, assist with rental pricing, handle tenant screening, and deal with tenants on a day-to-day basis.
Questions? Let our experts help.