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Managing Rental Properties: 6 Steps to Success for Modern Leasing Agents

Rent and property values are going up, up, up! This trend is great news for property managers. But to fully take advantage of this trend, you must understand how to manage your rental properties successfully. 

Successfully managing rental properties is more than just sitting back and collecting monthly rent checks. Collecting rent is a part of the process, but the full picture is more complicated than that! To make your rental properties as profitable as possible, you need a foolproof, step-by-step process, including maintenance, tenant screening, and more.

This post walks you through the steps to manage your rental properties successfully! 

Managing Rental Properties: The Basics 

Managing rental properties can be rewarding, but it's not without challenges. Whether you're managing a single unit or an entire apartment complex, your primary responsibility is keeping your tenants and properties happy and well-maintained. To help you navigate this new terrain, let's break down the essentials of property management into three key areas: tenants, properties, and finances.

Managing Tenants

When managing tenants, you must remember that communication is key. You'll need to be responsive and approachable. Answering questions and addressing concerns promptly can go a long way in keeping your tenants satisfied. 

You should also conduct thorough background checks before selecting tenants. This step is essential to ensure that you're welcoming reliable and trustworthy individuals into your properties. 

Related Read: How to Find Tenants for a Rental Property: A Step-by-Step Guide

Finally, don't forget about rent collection — setting up a system for collecting rent and dealing with late payments is vital to the job.

Managing Your Properties

Another critical element of property management is… managing your properties. This endeavor involves two main areas: repairs and routine maintenance. 

Properties, especially older ones, may require occasional repairs. Being proactive in fixing issues, whether it's a leaky faucet or a malfunctioning HVAC system, is essential to keep your tenants comfortable and prevent small problems from becoming big, costly headaches. 

Additionally, you must perform routine maintenance on your properties. These regular tasks, like landscaping or periodic pest control, help preserve the value of your investment and keep tenants satisfied.

Managing Your Finances

Lastly, let's talk about managing your finances. Financial management for your properties includes everything from setting rent prices that reflect the market to managing accounts and dealing with vacancies. You'll want to strike a balance between competitive pricing and generating enough income to cover your expenses and turn a profit. 

Vacancies can be a landlord's worst nightmare, so finding effective ways to minimize them is crucial. Additionally, keeping meticulous financial records is not just good practice; it's often required for tax purposes.

Let’s now dive into the steps you must follow to master rental property management!

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1. Acquiring and Preparing Your Properties 

The first step to managing rental properties is to acquire and prepare those properties for your tenants. 

Start by researching the market and pinpointing properties with high rental demand. Location matters, but so does the property's condition. Even if you are okay investing in a “fixer-upper,” you should have deal-breakers for property flaws, such as termite damage, foundational issues, or other expensive challenges. 

Related Read: California’s Rental Application Process: Helpful Resources for Real Estate Professionals

Conduct thorough inspections to identify any repairs or renovations needed. Crunch the numbers to ensure the property makes financial sense, considering rental income and expenses. Once you're ready, roll up your sleeves and tackle those necessary repairs and cosmetic improvements. 

Making your property attractive to prospective tenants can make all the difference between making a quick profit and getting saddled with an expensive property that doesn’t return on your investment. 

2. Building Your Listing 

Now that your property is in tip-top shape, it's time to get it in front of some potential renters. Begin by researching the local rental market to determine a competitive rental rate for a property like yours. Look at similar properties in the area to fine-tune your pricing strategy. 

Next, don't underestimate the power of strong presentation! Instead of snapping photos with your phone camera, take professional photos to showcase your property in the best light. When it comes to advertising, cast a wide net. Explore various online listing platforms. You may also want to look into social media or local newspapers for additional reach.

Instead of managing dozens of online listings separately, you can use Intellirent’s simple listing tool to create one beautiful listing and push it out to 80+ popular listing sites with a single click! 

3. Tenant Screening and Selection 

Choosing the right tenants is crucial for a smooth landlord-tenant relationship. How can you ensure you’re choosing the right renters for your properties? Simple: Develop a robust tenant screening process

Start by creating a rental application form that gathers vital information like employment details, income verification, rental history, and references. But don't stop there. Run comprehensive background checks, including credit and criminal history, and look for any past evictions. Evaluate applicants based on predetermined criteria, selecting the most qualified tenants. And remember, there are fair housing laws in place – tread carefully. You want to ensure you’re selecting the best renters for your property while still following the letter of the law.

Related Read: 9 Best Tenant Screening Software Solutions for Fast, Reliable Data

If you're looking for an efficient tenant screening solution, check out Intellirent's Renter SmartMatch system! Our solution allows you to send prospective renters through an online application to collect credit, background, rental history, employment data, and more. Then, we’ll generate Renter Resumes for each applicant, giving you a simple template you can use to easily and efficiently compare your applicants and select the right fit for your property. 

4. Property Maintenance 

Getting the right tenants in the door is vital to your success as a leasing agent, but it’s far from the last step in your journey! Next, you must consider property maintenance. 

Property maintenance is an ongoing responsibility for property managers and leasing agents. Don’t sit back and wait for things to break before taking steps to fix them. Instead, establish a proactive plan that ensures your property remains in tip-top condition. 

Regular inspections can help you spot issues before they become costly problems. You can also increase your likelihood of hanging onto strong tenants for multiple lease terms by responding to maintenance requests promptly and professionally.  

Lastly, keep detailed records of all maintenance and repairs; it'll help with budgeting and taxes down the road.

5. Rent Collection and Tenant Communication 

Rent collection and, by extension, tenant communication are the lifeblood of your rental business. Setting up a reliable system to collect rent paanager. Online platforms or automated bank transfers can make rent collection processes a breeze. 

Next, you must be crystal clear with tenants about rent expectations and due dates. Communicate expectations about pet screening and pet rent if applicable. Having a late rent policy in place is also a good idea. If a tenant falls behind on their payments, you’ll then have a road map to follow rather than needing to stray into uncharted — and potentially expensive — territory.

Finally, remember that regular communication with tenants about property-related matters, like maintenance schedules or lease renewals, can help maintain a positive landlord-tenant relationship.

6. Legal Compliance 

Last but not least, managing rental properties successfully requires you to closely monitor compliance. Stay current with local, state, and federal rental laws. You must also secure the right insurance coverage, including landlord, liability, and property insurance. 

Regular property risk assessments can identify potential hazards and liabilities, allowing you to mitigate these challenges without getting into hot water. 

Unsure of what to do in a given circumstance? Don't hesitate to consult legal or property management experts when in doubt! These professionals can offer key guidance on any legal concerns that may crop up during your journey as a landlord.

Managing Rental Properties the Easy Way 

Following the seven-step process above should help you better manage your rental properties! However, following these steps can sometimes be easier said than done.

Trying to maintain listings, screen tenants, and communicate with renters can be overwhelming when using different systems. Instead, you should explore an all-in-one rental property management platform like Intellirent.

With Intellirent, you can build listings in minutes, post them to all the major listing sites with one click, accept applications, screen tenants, and more! The best part? It’s free!

To see how Intellirent can help you manage your rental properties without breaking a sweat, create a free account and post your first listing today!

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