November 21, 2023 • 7 min read
You’ve seen the success many property managers are finding in the current real estate market. You know that rental properties generally return at least ten percent in profits each month — if not more. Whether you’ve been in the property management game for a while or are new to the market, there’s one surefire way to maximize your profits: mastering rental property management processes!
Think of rental property management as a complicated musical composition. Each tenant screening process, each maintenance task, and every financial decision is a note in the composition. The challenge is conducting this symphony to create a positive experience for both you and your tenants. With the right tips and tools, you can conduct your business without hitting any wrong notes!
This post will give you all the basics for mastering rental property management. We’ll cover the building blocks you need for your processes, then share twelve tips and tools you can use to streamline your processes and maximize your return on investment.
So, you've taken the plunge into rental property management. To help you navigate the terrain successfully, let's break down the essentials into three categories: Tenant Screening and Selection, Property Maintenance and Repairs, and Rent Collection and Financial Management.
The first element of rental property management you must master is the critical phase of tenant screening and selection. This stage is like building the foundation of a house — get this right, and you're off to a solid start.
Start by thoroughly vetting potential tenants. Background checks, credit history reviews, and rental history verification are your tools for separating the wheat from the chaff. You want tenants who meet your predetermined criteria, ensuring responsible and reliable occupancy.
Communication is key here; be crystal clear about the rental terms, including rent amount, security deposit, lease duration, and house rules. Clear communication during the tenant screening stage establishes a harmonious landlord-tenant relationship.
Now, let's talk about property maintenance and repairs. It is better to think of maintenance and repairs as ongoing upkeep of your investment rather than considering it as a burden you should put off paying into as long as possible.
Regular inspections are your best friend here, helping you spot issues before they become costly problems. Be proactive in addressing maintenance tasks, whether it's fixing a leaky faucet or handling a malfunctioning HVAC system. Your goal is to provide your tenants with a safe and comfortable living environment.
Additionally, remember to keep meticulous records of all maintenance activities and expenses. These records are more than just paperwork; they're essential for accurate accounting and tax purposes.
Last but certainly not least, we have rent collection and financial management. This piece of the puzzle is where the business side of rental property management comes into play.
Establish a streamlined rent collection process, including outlining clear payment methods and due dates. Remember, the goal is to do everything you can to ensure rent flows in consistently. Maintaining accurate records tracking income, expenses, and taxes on the financial management front.
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When life throws you curveballs like late payments or the need for evictions, follow legal procedures diligently. It's not always a pleasant task, but it's necessary to protect your investment, so setting up clear processes for evictions and other legal action before you bring tenants into your properties is crucial.
As mentioned briefly in this post's last section, strong tenant screening is the cornerstone of a well-managed rental property. Don't cut corners here.
Conduct comprehensive background checks, delve into credit histories, and contact references. This thorough vetting process helps ensure you have reliable and responsible tenants who are more likely to treat your property with care. Remember to stick to predetermined rental criteria consistently. This consistency maintains fairness and helps you avoid potential discrimination issues.
Consider using a robust tenant screening solution, like Intellirent, which allows you to quickly and easily accept applications, run TransUnion credit checks and comprehensive background checks, and review the results using standardized Renter Resumes.
A clear lease agreement is your best friend in the rental property game. Craft a well-defined document that covers all the bases: rent, security deposits, rules, maintenance responsibilities, and any other essential terms specific to your property.
The devil is in the details, so clearly outline tenant and landlord obligations to prevent misunderstandings. Having a lawyer review your lease agreement and consider creating a template to streamline future leases is also a good idea.
Routine property inspections are vital for staying ahead of maintenance needs and ensuring compliance with lease terms. These inspections allow you to identify issues early on and address them promptly, preventing small problems from spiraling into major repairs.
Remember, proactive maintenance is key to extending the lifespan of property features and reducing unexpected repair costs. Maintain a detailed maintenance schedule and track completed tasks to stay organized.
Maintaining open and respectful communication with your tenants is essential to successful property management. A positive landlord-tenant relationship can make your life a whole lot easier, help you retain renters for multiple lease terms, and give you peace of mind regarding the people living in your investment property. Be responsive to inquiries, concerns, and maintenance requests. Timely communication goes a long way in building trust and goodwill.
In the world of rental property management, documentation is your armor. Keep detailed records of all communications, repairs, inspections, and financial transactions.
Keeping detailed records not only protects you legally but also ensures accurate accounting. You never know when you might need to reference a past conversation or transaction; having those records on hand can only benefit you.
Lastly, familiarize yourself with the local and state laws that govern landlord-tenant relationships, rent control, eviction procedures, and property standards. Ignorance is not an excuse when it comes to legal matters. Staying informed helps you avoid legal pitfalls and ensure that you're operating within the bounds of the law.
The first tool you should explore for your property management business is property management software. This software solution serves as your command center for rental property operations.
Platforms like Buildium, AppFolio, or Yardi offer centralized solutions for property management, rent collection, maintenance tracking, and financial reporting.
Having all your tenant data, lease agreements, payment records, and maintenance requests neatly organized in one place simplifies your workload, minimizes administrative hassles, and enhances your ability to track the financial health of your properties.
Selecting the right tenants is a make-or-break factor in property management. Your tenant screening tool will help you run background checks, credit reports, and rental history verification.
Intellirent offers a comprehensive tool that allows you to build an application based on custom criteria, run background checks and TransUnion credit reports, and receive all your applicants’ details and documentation in a centralized, organized document we call a Renter Resume.
Reviewing Renter Resumes with Intellirent can help you make informed decisions about potential tenants, reducing the risk of leasing to individuals with a history of financial trouble or troublesome behavior.
Property inspections are a routine part of property management. Mobile apps like HappyCo or InspectorADE can simplify this process significantly.
These applications enable you to conduct property inspections efficiently, capture photos as evidence, and generate detailed inspection reports on the spot. Whether you're inspecting a property before a new tenant moves in or conducting regular maintenance checks, these apps make your life easier by providing a streamlined, digital solution.
Collecting rent is a crucial aspect of property management, but it doesn't have to be a headache. Online rent payment platforms like Cozy, Rentler, or using standalone payment services like Zelle provide secure and convenient options for tenants to pay their rent electronically.
These tools save you and your tenants the hassle of dealing with checks or cash, reduce the risk of lost or late payments, and offer a convenient way to digitally track rent receipts.
Maintenance and repairs are ongoing responsibilities in property management. Consider using maintenance management systems such as Maintenance Connection or UpKeep to keep things running smoothly.
These tools allow you to create and track maintenance requests, schedule repairs, and monitor the progress of tasks. They're invaluable for staying organized, ensuring that maintenance issues are addressed promptly, and keeping comprehensive records of property upkeep.
Armed with the tips and tools in this post, you should have what you need to manage your properties efficiently and get high-quality renters in the door!
Whether you’re just getting started with rental property management or you’re a seasoned leasing agent, you know the importance of keeping costs down. Investing in a whole suite of property management tools can be overwhelming and expensive.
The good news? You can use Intellirent to manage your tenant screening, application, and property listing processes… and our tool is always 100% free for leasing agents!
Applicants will pay a small fee to apply for your properties, but you can list properties and screen applicants without ever paying a dime!
See how you can improve your processes and save money at the same time and see our product tour today!
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