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Essential Tips for First-Time Landlords

Essential Tips for First-Time Landlords

Florida is the fastest-growing state in the U.S., thanks to an influx of over 800 new residents per day. As a result, rental rates are now 36% higher than they were pre-pandemic.

This makes Florida an attractive choice for potential landlords looking to enter the investment property market.

Yet, first-time landlords are often unaware of the many responsibilities that go with owning an investment property. It takes time, effort, and excellent budgeting skills to succeed in this endeavor.

If you're wondering how to become a landlord while limiting your risks, keep reading.

Landlord Guide to Preparing a Property

In order to attract tenants, landlords must stay on top of current housing trends. Visualize your ideal tenant and upgrade your property to suit them.

It's best to consider every aspect of the interior and exterior. These include:

  • Light fixtures
  • Paint colors
  • Flooring
  • Appliances

Utility costs can take up a sizable chunk of your tenant's budget. So, cost-saving features like solar power are a big drawcard for renters.

Once you've created an attractive haven for your tenants, it's important to market your property appropriately for your target market.

Tenant Screening for Landlords

Never go with your gut when signing a lease with tenants. Rather, set up a step-by-step tenant screening process while reviewing applications and stick to it.

Consider the following:

  • The level of detail you'll ask for in the application form
  • Questions to ask during a showing
  • Income level
  • Pet policy

You must conduct a criminal background check and a credit check before you enter an agreement with tenants.

Remember to consider every aspect of the Fair Housing Act while selecting your ideal tenant, or you could end up in hot water. Make sure you know all the other laws about tenants in your state, too.

Set Up a Lease Appendix

As a landlord, you must use the standard, approved Florida Lease Agreement, but that doesn't mean you can't include criteria specific to your property.

Your tenants may do anything they like unless the lease forbids it. For instance, they could smoke indoors, install different appliances, or sublet the house.

For this reason, it's vital to enlist the aid of a real estate lawyer or broker to set up an appendix relating to the house rules.

Keep Detailed Records

You'll never know if you're winning or losing as a landlord unless you keep a record of expenses related to your investment home. You must also keep tabs on rental payments, inspections, and maintenance schedules for the property.

Digital records with an offsite backup are best for security reasons. You can also invest in property management software to help streamline the process and keep track of everything.

Hire a Property Manager

Collaborating with a property management company helps streamline many of these landlord responsibilities. An experienced property manager can help you set attractive rental rates, find good tenants, and take care of your investment.

The Round Table Property Management team has been assisting landlords in Florida for decades. Get in touch for assistance with all your property management needs, or browse our blog for more landlord tips.