|Could it be that living in an apartment complex temporarily will feel like a vacation?|
I ask prospective tenants to bring me printouts of their credit reports. I telephone their employers and previous landlords. I assess their appearance, their language, their children’s behavior. I casually glance in their cars to see if they are neat. I even search online (yes, even Facebook) for any information I can gather.
In the end, it’s still a gamble. It’s rare that a renter takes care of a home the way a homeowner would. (My apologies to those of you who are perfect tenants and you probably know who you are.)
Bank of America sees the value of keeping homeowners in their homes as renters rather than foreclosing on them. It's a win/win situation.
It’s always a delicate balance deciding between the benefits of raising rent, and risking a vacancy that could cost you more than you’ll gain.
|Real estate investing books like this one can |
teach you how to be a successful landlord.
My experience is that property managers like properties to run on their own, and are reluctant to hassle tenants who are not doing their share.
Find me a company called Tough Love Property Management, and I might sign up, but meanwhile, I’ll manage my own properties because I’m a hands-on kind of gal. That’s difficult to do when you live elsewhere.
If you live close enough to your rental property to manage it yourself, you need to get up to speed on regulations and smart procedures. It's a business that needs to be run like a business, a profitable and lawful one.
Although the property itself may hold its value, when it's time to get serious about selling, you'll probably need to repair and update some features.
Rather than a lease, I use a month-to-month rental agreement that can be terminated by either landlord or tenant with 30 days notice. Leases protect tenants more than they protect property owners.
Some smart landlords I know have discovered that, rather than begin an eviction process, it's often faster and less costly to pay a problem tenant a few hundred dollars to get gone.
It's Not For Sale. Although some folks keep their real estate listing active, and put a renter in the house, I don't see this as a smart move. A renter doesn't have much motivation to maintain a staged home, keeping it show-ready, clean, organized, and decorated to please buyers. In fact, once the property sells, the renter gets booted.
Taking down the for sale sign does mean that potential buyers won't know about your property.
The Summary: Whether you wait for a buyer, or decide to put a renter in your home depends on your circumstances. The criteria will include how rushed you are, how flush you are, how far away you're moving, what the local rental market is like, what your mortgage and other costs are, whether you already have employment, whether you can get financial assistance from an employer, and whether you have reliable home management people.
And guess what. Christina's tenants are talking to her about buying the house.