Mistakes can be expensive and make a huge mark on your ROI. If you’re a self-managing landlord who is worried about paying management fees, it’s important that you realize you can often make a mistake that turns out to be a lot more costly than the price of a professional property manager.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common mistakes we see, which are not only expensive, but also avoidable.
Understanding the Local Rental Market
You really have to understand the prices of comparable rental homes in your market. Otherwise, you’re likely to price your home incorrectly and cost yourself money. Sometimes owners will want to price their properties really high, but that’s only going to leave your home vacant. Vacancies cost a lot more than professional management. Use good data when you’re pricing your property, and make sure you understand local market trends and the things that tenants are looking for in a home.
Know Your Fair Housing Laws
It’s easy to get into fair housing trouble, especially if you don’t know the fair housing laws. By not understanding the federal, state, and local protected classes, you can find yourself embroiled in a discrimination claim without even realizing that you broke the law. This is one benefit to having a professional Santa Cruz property manager who understands these laws and stays up to date on all the changes in fair housing. Your property manager will protect you from expensive mistakes and tenant claims.
Screening Santa Cruz Tenants
It’s always surprising to us when landlords don’t screen well. Sometimes, they don’t screen at all because they have a feeling that a tenant is a good fit. This is dangerous, and you should commit to a rigorous and consistent tenant screening process. Landlords can often discriminate against potential tenants by deciding not to rent to anyone who has children or refusing animals, even if they’re emotional support animals.
Use a set of standard rental criteria, and apply that criteria to every applicant. It’s the only way to protect yourself from discrimination claims. You want to make sure you’re placing qualified tenants.
Sign a Strong Lease Agreement
Your lease agreement should be specific to California and cover all the necessary disclosures and requirements. It should also protect you and your property. Don’t grab a copy of any lease off the internet. Use a solid lease agreement that’s provided by a property manager or an attorney. This will help you get your tenancy off to a smooth and efficient start.
Showing Tenant-Occupied Property
Don’t show your property to new prospective tenants without providing your current tenants at least 24 hours of notice. It’s inconsiderate and it won’t help you get your property leased any sooner.
Resisting the Advice of Your Managers
You have to let your property managers do their jobs. If they call you with the news that you have to make a $100 repair, don’t fight it. Trust that your management team is making the best decisions for your property. Otherwise, they won’t be able to do what they do, and your tenants will be upset and ready to leave.
These are some of the common mistakes made by landlords. If you have any further questions please feel free to contact us at Portola Property Management.