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DIY Landlords: 4 Common Mistakes to Avoid

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Potential real estate investors have two alternatives for property management: hire property managers or manage the property themselves. The DIY method of property administration, however, frequently results in a number of errors. While making mistakes in real estate investment is inevitable, you may take steps to prevent them.

From a distance, some may think that managing properties is a simple undertaking. However, once they start working, they realize that it can be a tedious job. A rental property manager is responsible for a variety of tasks. Some of them consist of advertising, maintenance, cleaning, checking on tenants, collecting rent, repairs, evictions, rental contracts, background checks, pest control, and so forth.

As a do-it-yourself landlord, you must respond quickly to any problems that your tenants bring up. If your renters have an emergency involving the property, they may require your presence after hours. You’ll also need to be adaptable in areas like accounting, tax deductions, and other state regulations.

Smart landlords select property managers with the necessary training and expertise in each of these areas. However, self-employed landlords may run across problems that can jeopardize their capacity to remain in business. Due to these errors, many landlords are forced to sell their rental properties during the first one to five years of ownership.

It would be advisable to avoid these errors if you already are or plan to become a landlord. Here are some frequent errors that do-it-yourself landlords make.


1. Forgetting or avoiding routine maintenance tasks

Home improvement tools such as a drill, hammer, stud finder, paint can, toolbox.Some landlords neglect to maintain their premises on a regular basis. It could be deliberately done to maximize profit or accidentally if they are unaware of the value of upkeep. The upkeep of rental properties is a laborious duty as it demands your time and attention. Sometimes the landlord will attempt to handle the maintenance activities on their own, but the workload becomes so great that they are unable to finish them. There are several repercussions if routine maintenance is not performed or completed. These are a few of the reasons for wear and tear, dissatisfied tenants, high vacancy rates, and loss of rental income.

Rent might be rightfully withheld by tenants if landlords neglect to conduct necessary maintenance. Landlords can take the following actions to prevent such problems:

  • Hire a property manager who can handle all these tasks jointly with contractors and tenants.
  • Hire contractors if they receive more than two calls (every month) for serious maintenance issues.
  • Hire professionals for duties that take more than fifteen minutes to complete.
  • Perform easy or minor responsibilities by themselves.


2. Failure to conduct tenant screening and thorough background checks

Glasses sitting on top of an open notebook containing notesLandlords should always aim to have high-quality tenants. These are renters that will:

  • Reduce wear and tear on your rental property.
  • Pay rent on time.
  • Lease for longer durations.
  • Communicate maintenance issues.
  • Care for the property.
  • Adhere to lease agreements.
  • Maintain good records.

Thorough tenant screening and background checks will help you get such tenants. Part of the background check will include the following:

  • Check and verify their employment history.
  • Check their credit status.
  • Investigate why they vacated the previous residence.
  • Verify the former address.
  • Speak with the former landlord or property managers.
  • Speak with past employers.

Failure to perform a thorough background check and tenant screening can be a disaster if you lease to bad renters.


3. Failure to research rental fees

Smart phone propped up against a laptop screen looking at stock dataMarket research must be done before you decide on your property’s rental rates. Avoiding this feature could result in empty units or a loss of rental income. Rent that is too exorbitant may turn away potential tenants. If your rent is too low, on the other hand, you will forfeit the cash you would have earned as rental income. This is why we urge you to look into the right rent for your property. To accomplish this, you must:

  • Contact property managers to assist you.
  • Ask real estate agents to inspect the property and suggest rents for similar units.
  • Check Craigslist for adverts for similar units to know their rents.
  • Check local papers for rents of competing apartments.


4. Using a generic rental agreement

Some landlords handle every aspect of their business alone, even drafting lease agreements. They access the internet, obtain a sample rental agreement, and hand it to the appropriate renters for signature. These generalized rental agreements, however, might not be tailored to your home and location. This can be prevented by:

  • Hire a property manager or a lawyer to draft a suitable one for your rental units.
  • Use the generic ones as a guideline.
  • Include only clauses that are appropriate for your type of property.


If you work with property managers, you can stay away from all these DIY landlord blunders. They’ll make your investment passive, reduce stress, and shield you from legal troubles.

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