Best ROI Advice for a First-time Landlord

Getting a regular sum into your account from your rental property is alluring, specifically for a first-time landlord. But you may not realize the responsibility of being in this business until going knee-deep. Maximizing the ROI of your rental property takes strategic planning and relentless hard work. While you have the option to hire a property manager, it may not be financially feasible for a newbie. Fortunately, you can be a successful DIY landlord even as a beginner, provided you use common sense and follow some rules. Let us share some valuable ROI advice for a first-time landlord.

Photo of a cool apartment

1. Treat Your Investment as a Business

Real estate investment is a business, and you should treat it like one, even if it is not your primary job. It still works as a source of passive income, so you must go the extra mile to keep it secure and thriving. Follow the best practices like remaining professional with your tenants, maintaining your property well, and keeping your books and finances on track.

You must also ensure compliance with laws and regulations, protect your asset with insurance, and pay taxes on time. The to-do list might seem overwhelming for a first-timer, but you can invest in research and get expert guidance to learn the ropes of the rental property business.

2. Stay Ahead with the Paperwork

Documentation is perhaps the most crucial aspect of renting out your place. You cannot expect to run the business on a handshake or verbal agreement. The only way to operate profitably is by having a robust lease agreement for your property. As a newbie, you must understand the elements a lease should cover. Think beyond the basics, such as lease dates, rent value, and tenant details. Ensure that the agreement outlines your policies about rent deadlines, repairs, pets, noise complaints, and subletting. Keep all communication with tenants in writing, as you can use it later if a dispute arises.

3. Invest in Technology

Hiring a property manager may not be in your budget as a first-time landlord. Moreover, you will probably not want to give them a cut from your profit. Also, gaining experience with DIY makes sense for a newbie with their first property. The good thing is that you can invest in technology to handle the complexity of property management. Look for landlord software that covers all fronts of rental ownership. An ideal one will have features like listing and marketing, tenant screening, rent collection and accounting, tenant communication, and maintenance coordination. You can let technology do the hard work and count your cash!

4. Have Realistic Expectations

Although you expect to maximize your ROI sooner than later, it is better to tone down your expectations as a beginner. Consider factors like mortgage and maintenance to foresee a realistic profit value. For example, your rent payments will likely cover the mortgage if you still have it on your property. Likewise, a considerable sum may go toward proper maintenance and upkeep. You will probably have only a small profit initially, but it may climb as rental rates and demand increase. Also, remember that rental payments contribute to home equity.

5. Prepare for Lean Periods

Things may not always go your way when it comes to ROI maximization. You may encounter lean periods when you do not find a tenant for your property. An extended vacancy spells trouble because you will not have rental income to cover the mortgage during those periods. Preparing for such low phases enables you to ditch the landlord’s stress. Developing a savings fund or contingency plan is a good approach. You can set aside a part of the monthly profits in a separate account to address these lean periods. Even a small saving helps, so do not skimp on it. You will get the amount for yourself if you are lucky enough to have no vacancy. 

6. Never Slack with Tenant Screening

Tenant screening is crucial for all property owners, but newbies may not know its significance. Commit to going the extra mile to screen the potential tenant, even if you feel tempted to grab a quick deal. You may end up with someone you cannot trust with your property. Dig deep into their background with a credit check, criminal history, work history, and eviction history. Ensure renting to people who are capable of handling their ongoing rent obligations. You can call references to be extra sure. 

A first-time landlord is often excited to dive in and unlock the rental income from their property. But following these tips can help you make the most with a hefty and consistent ROI from the place.

Tre Pryor, Realtor

Tre Pryor is the leading real estate expert in the city of Louisville. He is a multi-million dollar producer and consistently ranks in the top 1% of Louisville Realtors for homes sold. Tre Pryor has the highest possible rating—5.0 stars on Google—by his clients and is routinely interviewed by the local NBC news. Tre Pryor is a member of the RE/MAX Hall of Fame.