As a new landlord, you’re inevitably to make a few mistakes as you establish your income property. Fortunately, you don’t have to let your learning curve jeopardize your relationships with tenants, the profitability of your income property, or your long-term success as a landlord. The following are some of the top mistakes of new landlords in Virginia to know about so you can avoid these common pitfalls.
Not Conducting a Proper Screening of Tenants
Your tenants don’t just help cover the expenses of your property—they also support the potential for you to have long-term, stable income from your rental. Unfortunately, failing to conduct a full screening of tenants can lead to problems for first-time landlords.
Although you can’t choose your tenants based on their race, religion, marital status, or any disabilities they may have, you do need to conduct a credit and background check, verify income, and follow up with any references of previous landlords.
Even if you know the person you’re considering as a tenant, or they came recommended from a friend, make it your policy to thoroughly screen every tenant regardless of whether they seem like a good fit. This process will help you avoid problems later with tenants who damage the unit, are late on rent, or disrupt the community.
Failing to Address Maintenance Issues
Keeping up with regular maintenance of your income property is essential. However, new landlords may not realize how small issues such as a few missing roof shingles or a malfunctioning appliance can turn into bigger problems if left ignored.
Whether a tenant reports a problem or you notice one during an inspection, address repairs and maintenance concerns as soon as possible. Doing so can help improve your relationships with your tenants, but it also helps keep maintenance issues to a minimum, saving you money in emergency fixes later.
Throwing Away Documentation
New landlords may not realize how important it is to maintain documentation of their income properties.
For example, keeping receipts of items purchased for the property, taking notes of every inspection, maintenance visit, or interaction with your tenants can be immensely helpful should something go awry with your lease or your renters and you end up having to go to court.
Make it a habit to keep track of everything related to your rental property, keeping receipts, noting dates and times, and even taking photos when necessary. There are software applications that make it easier to track all these things and more.
Not Putting Enough Money Away
Although your tenants will help cover the costs of your income property, this doesn’t mean you should avoid putting money away in the event of an emergency. You will need to account for vacancies during which your old tenants move out and you may not find new renters immediately.
You should also have enough money for emergency repairs, to cover expenses for several months, and even for court fees should you need to take legal action against your tenants. Having this money and not needing it is better than needing it and not having it.
Going With a Standard Lease
If you have a standard lease that you didn’t draft but rather purchased, it may not cover everything you need for it to be a legally binding agreement.
A common mistake of new landlords in Virginia is choosing a lease that doesn’t reflect their particular rental property, including landlord-tenant responsibilities, clauses for pets, cosigners, and deposits, and one that’s current with local laws.
Working with a professional property management agency to help you draft a customized lease can ensure you are protected when renting out your income property.
Don’t Make These Mistakes—Contact Circle Property Management
You can avoid these common mistakes and more by enlisting the help of Circle Property Management for your new income property in Virginia. We can ensure your unit stays profitable, minimize expenses, and help you create long-term success with our services. Call us today to get started at (703) 349-0144.
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