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 10 Steps to Becoming a Good Landlord: Maintenance and Inspections
By: Darin "Sid" Cameron, CRS
Sat, Dec 2nd, 2006 5:20 pm

As a part of my on going series called, "10 Steps to Becoming a Good Landlord" over the past few days we've addressed the first five items- Selecting Tenants, Occupancy, Setting Rents and Collecting and Handling Deposits.  Today we're going to look at the next two items in the list.

Maintenance

In order to be a landlord you must be proficient in repairing cracks or holes in doors and walls, painting, outside maintenance and yard work, plumbing, electrical repairs, heating and cooling repairs and anything else that can go wrong with a property.  If not, you should have a list of handyman services or professional contractors who can perform these tasks for you- and in the case of plumbing, electrical and heating/cooling you probably need someone who can perform emergency service on a short notice.  Pest control is another responsibility you won’t want to forget about.

If these tasks aren’t appealing, then you should probably consider hiring a professional property management service to maintain your properties (knowing that they’ll eat into your profits) or avoid investment real estate altogether.

The big thing to know is that when there’s a problem the faster and more efficient you are in getting the problems resolved, the fewer headaches and stress your tenants will cause you.

Requiring Notices and Inspections

A good Rental Contract should require the tenant to give you a 30 or 60 day notice before vacating the property. It’s a good idea to also include a statement in your Rental Contract that you require an immediate inspection at the time of this notice and a final inspection on the last day.

The first inspection is very important to you because it gives you time to formulate a strategy for repairing the property if it’s not in good condition.  For example, if the property is going to need major work done- like replace carpeting, windows or kitchen cabinets- you might need 30-60 days to schedule out the work with those service companies.  If you don’t know about the problems until after the renter has moved out, your unit may be sitting vacant (while you pay the mortgage) until the repairs can be done.

The other advantage to doing an immediate inspection is that it gives you an opportunity to discuss with the tenant what will be necessary in order for them to get any deposit money back. Being on the same page early on is the easiest way to keep someone from having hard feelings.

[ Next Article: 10 Steps to Becoming a Good Landlord: Tenant's Rights ]
[ Previous Article: 10 Steps to Becoming a Good Landlord: Collecting and Handling Deposits ]


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Darin "Sid" Cameron spent 15 years working in the technology industry which in 1998 relocated him to St. Louis. In 2004 he took over web development tasks for Kimberly's real estate team and later became the full-time Marketing and Operations Director in 2005. In 2011 Sid launched two brokerages, The Realty Store, Inc. and Realty Referral Partners, Inc, while continuing to perform marketing and operations for Kimberly's team. Sid holds a real estate broker's license in Missouri, CRS certification and was the first CyberStar in the St. Louis area.
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