If you’re a first-time landlord, then it might surprise you just how much time your rental property can take away from your days. Even if your property has a tenant, you may be fielding calls all day. When tenants don’t understand how to set the thermostat or forget the code to the garage door, you’re the one they’ll reach out to — and it can be exhausting.
While it is your responsibility to manage all maintenance and repair requests, you also have to answer questions about how your property functions. Tenants who don’t understand how to use your property won’t stay very long, so it’s in your best interest as a landlord to make sure your tenant feels comfortable in the space.
But overall, it can suck up a lot of your time. Here’s how to get maximum returns on your rental property while spending less time and improving your tenant’s quality of life.
Prepare the property before renting it out
A lot of time can be saved by making minor upgrades to your rental property and completing a thorough cleaning before the new tenant arrives. By being proactive, you can help ensure that tenants don’t experience some of the hallmarks of a bad rental property.
Before your new tenant arrives for a showing, you should:
- Improve the home’s curb appeal: Mow the lawn, replace the mulch and add a few low-maintenance flowers or bushes.
- Clean the interior: Every rental property should be thoroughly cleaned from top to bottom every time a tenant moves out.
- Schedule a pest control visit: Having an exterminator come through and check for bugs can save you a major headache later down the line. Even if there isn’t a pest problem now, an exterminator can look for possible signs of weakness and give you tips to prevent an infestation.
- Inspect all pipes and faucets for leaks: A leaky faucet can lead to water damage and a possible mold infestation. Look for problems now and you might prevent a major disaster later.
- Test all appliances and replace any if needed: If your appliances break regularly, then you will be getting a lot of calls from tenants about the problem. Make sure everything’s in working order now and replace any appliances before the tenant moves in.
- Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors: You can get in serious trouble as a landlord if your property does not have a smoke or carbon monoxide detector on the premises. Don’t risk a massive fee. Install these detectors and check the ones already installed so you know they work.
While this may seem like a lot of work and a big time commitment, the goal here is to save time and money in the long run. If you do some heavy lifting now, then you’ll have fewer calls about pests, broken stoves or missing batteries in smoke detectors later on. Many of these jobs, such as checking a smoke detector, take just a minute or two of work, and the payoff can be big when you don’t have to come back to the property later when a tenant calls.
At Atlas Lane, our experts have a checklist to complete before the property can be rented again. It helps us save time and ensures that every property meets our high standards.
Screen tenants carefully
Some landlords sign the very first tenants that submit an application to their properties without checking references or asking about previous rentals. This may seem like the fastest way to start getting rent, but not screening tenants can lead to major problems, such as late rent, damage to the property and broken leases.
While it can take time to interview each rental applicant and speak with the references listed, this can help save time later on when you don’t have to spend time tracking down late rent every month or answer countless maintenance requests.
Tenants at Atlas Lane properties go through a rigorous screening process, and no reference goes unchecked. By taking this task off the landlord’s plate, we save them time while still finding good tenants.
Create a move-in routine
When a tenant moves in, many landlords just hand over the keys and leave the tenant to their work, but a little time spent on the property with the tenant can save you a few phone calls over the next few days.
Before the tenants move in, inform them that you’ll be showing them around the property when you arrive. This will be your opportunity to show them basic maintenance, such as how to set the thermostat, and remind them of some property etiquette. For example, exhaust fans must always be used when showering to prevent mold. It may seem obvious to you, but tenants who have never owned a property before might not realize how minor actions can prevent big repairs.
Spending even 30 minutes with your tenants to show them how the property works will save you time answering phone calls or emails, and your tenants will feel empowered to take care of the property themselves. When they see how much care and attention you put into it, they’ll want to mirror that care.
Whenever tenants move into Atlas Lane properties, they go through a detailed move-in checklist with our HomePros team, who show them how the property works and answers any questions they might have. Doing so empowers tenants to fix minor problems themselves and reduces the number of calls to our in-house team.
Every rental property will require a time investment from the landlord, but with Atlas Lane as your property manager, you’ll spend less time at your property and maximize your returns. Contact us today to find out more.