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Residential Real Estate
May 3, 2023

10 Mistakes Rental Property Investors Should Avoid

Sponsored Content provided by Dave Sweyer - Owner and Broker, Sweyer Property Management

Are you a rental property investor looking to maximize your profit while minimizing risk? You’re not alone! Many rental property owners face the same challenge of navigating pitfalls and obstacles as they seek success. To help make this journey easier, we have identified ten common mistakes that every rental property investor should avoid to ensure their investments are profitable and successful. In this post, we will explain how understanding these missteps can give you an edge in the real estate market. Read on for more information!

1. Not getting ahead of maintenance needs
Many homeowners understand the importance of taking care of their property, but not all follow through with necessary maintenance tasks. Neglecting routine inspections and ignoring necessary repairs can lead to bigger, more expensive problems down the road. It's crucial to stay on top of maintenance needs to prevent issues from arising in the first place – this can be easily done through property inspections. Additionally, having a list of reliable, trusted service providers can save you time and money when unexpected problems occur. By being proactive in caring for your property, you can ensure that it remains a safe and comfortable space for your tenants.

2. Not having processes in place 
If you're a landlord, you know it can be overwhelming to manage everything from finding tenants to maintaining the property, especially if you still need to establish processes. Without a plan, things can quickly spiral out of control, and you may struggle to keep up with the job demands. That's where establishing clear guidelines and procedures come in. Whether it's setting expectations for tenants or establishing a system for maintenance and repairs, having clear processes in place can make your life as a landlord much easier. So if you haven't already, take some time to map out your approach to managing your rental property - it will pay off in the long run.

3. Allowing bookkeeping to fall behind
Allowing bookkeeping to fall behind can lead to many problems for any business, big or small, and this is certainly true for property investors. It may seem like a minor issue at first, but the consequences can be severe. If bookkeeping isn't properly maintained, it becomes difficult to track finances accurately, make informed business decisions, and maintain compliance with tax laws. Even worse, inadequate bookkeeping can raise red flags with auditors and regulatory authorities, leading to steep fines or legal repercussions. It's important to prioritize proper bookkeeping to ensure the success and longevity of any business venture.

4. Not being available when tenants need you
Being a landlord requires responsibility and commitment to the tenants, which includes being available when they need you. However, there are times when landlords may have other obligations that prevent them from promptly attending to their tenants. This lack of availability can cause frustration and inconvenience for tenants, especially when issues such as maintenance requests or emergencies arise. It is important for landlords to establish open communication with their tenants and to have a system in place for handling emergencies or urgent matters, even if they are not physically available. By prioritizing tenant needs and being proactive in addressing them, landlords can ensure that their tenants feel respected and satisfied with their living arrangements.

5. Lack of proper communication
Effective communication is key to any successful relationship, and this also holds true for the relationship between a landlord and their tenant. When communication breaks down, misunderstandings and disagreements arise, often leading to bigger problems. Both the landlord and the tenant need to establish clear communication channels from the outset of their relationship. This will prevent misunderstandings and create a harmonious living environment for everyone involved.

6. Not having tenant retention and turnover strategies
As a landlord, the success of your rental property depends on having a continuous stream of reliable tenants. However, not having effective strategies in place to find and screen new tenants can lead to costly vacancies and potential property damage. It's important to implement a screening process that includes a search for past evictions. Additionally, it's crucial to have a plan in place for when tenants move out, such as conducting a thorough cleaning and making any necessary repairs before listing the property. Taking these proactive steps will not only protect your investment but also attract and retain high-quality renters.

7. Setting your own rental rate without doing research or consulting professionals.
Setting your own rental rate without doing proper research can be a costly mistake. Rental rates are determined by various factors, such as location, size, and amenities. Without consulting professionals or researching, you may be undercharging or overcharging for your rental property. In addition, setting a rental rate that is too high may lead to longer vacancy periods, while setting one that is too low may result in a loss of potential revenue. By investing time in research and seeking professional advice, you can set a fair rental rate for you and your tenants. It's important to take these steps to ensure the success of your rental property.

8. Not being familiar with fair housing laws
As a rental property owner, it is essential to be aware of the various laws and regulations surrounding fair housing. Ignorance or negligence towards these laws can lead to serious consequences, including legal trouble, hefty fines, and damage to reputation. In addition, it is important to understand the protected classes and avoid any sort of discrimination in advertising, application screening, tenant selection, and lease agreements. Taking the time to educate oneself on these matters can prevent unwanted legal issues and ensure a fair and equitable relationship between renters and owners.

9. Not having the proper technology available to tenants
Having up-to-date technology available for tenants is no longer just a luxury; it is necessary in today's digital age. The ability to submit maintenance requests and pay rent online streamlines the entire rental process, making it more convenient for both the tenant and the landlord. Tenants have busy lives, and being able to complete these tasks online saves them time and effort. Meanwhile, landlords benefit from having a centralized system to manage all their properties as it allows them to keep track of everything efficiently. Ultimately, offering digital solutions improves the overall tenant experience and helps to build a good landlord-tenant relationship. With technology constantly advancing, landlords must embrace these changes and ensure their tenants have access to the latest tools and resources.

10. Not employing proper marketing strategies
Are you struggling to attract renters to your property? It could be that you're not employing the right marketing strategies. In a world where everyone is online, having a strong online presence for your rental property is essential. That means having professional photos, detailed descriptions, and easy-to-use online rental platforms. You also need to take advantage of social media and other online advertising channels to reach your target audience effectively. Investing time and effort into your marketing strategies can attract the right renters and fill vacancy spots faster.

What can you do to avoid making these mistakes?
Hire a professional property management company! Professional property managers can assist in every area mentioned in this article. From addressing maintenance concerns, Fair Housing Laws, and screening tenants to bookkeeping and turnover work, professional property managers have the experience and know-how to keep your property in prime condition so that it is home to great tenants for years to come. 

Investing in rental properties is no easy task and can carry many risks. To become a successful and informed investor, it’s important to be aware of the mistakes many real estate investors experience due to a lack of research, preparation, or planning. Avoiding these ten common mistakes can lead to steady returns on your investment by increasing the value and profit from your rental property over the long term. In addition, with attention to detail and care given to all aspects of renting out an investment property, you’ll be able to maintain good relationships with tenants while also getting the most out of your rentable asset.

As a leading property management firm in the Cape Fear region, Sweyer Property Management recommends that property owners strongly consider working with a trusted and experienced property management company. Whether it pertains to the eviction process or another area of handling your investment properties, we want to ensure property owners and investors understand the relationship they are entering into when choosing to work with a property management firm. 

If you have investment properties and do not use a professional management company, we hope you consider doing so. The experts at Sweyer Property Management will be happy to provide you with a free rental analysisor, if you prefer, give us a call at 910-239-1338. 
Sweyer Property Management is a full-service professional property management company specializing in all aspects of rental management. If you're an investor or property owner looking to learn more about our services and what a professional property manager can do for you, reach out to us today at 910.256.3031 or via our website. Sweyer Property Management has exhibited continuous growth throughout the Wilmington, Leland, and Hampstead areas while maintaining an excellent Google+ rating for customer service. 

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