IS BEING A LANDLORD DIFFICULT?
By: Aron Neelie
IS BEING A LANDLORD DIFFICULT?
Is being a landlord difficult? In any Country, in any Province and State, one thing is the same; Landlords. Also, one thing is for certain, some people are made to be Landlords and some aren’t.
Landlords are a group with as many different personalities as there are renters. Some Landlords have made a conscientious effort to become property owners, others let it just happen and still others shy away from the prospect altogether.
If you’ve made a specific effort to become a Landlord you will undoubtedly know the going real estate market; the prices of comparable real estate in various areas and comparable rental rates in your area.
You will probably have your favorite handyman and roofer and have conceded to the fact that any timely paying renter is a good renter.
If you’ve been fortunate enough to inherit a property, consider it money in the bank. Gaining an enormous amount of real property without having to “work” for it is quite fortunate; although at the loss of a loved one, it hardly seems a worthwhile trade But nevertheless, time marches on and things need to be done.
You may also be ready for the Landlord title and task for the first time. It may be worth it to you to not sell; to not ‘trade-up’ and to not reinvest your investment. It may be worth it to you to hold on to the property and gain an income and live somewhere else.
Many of the over 50 community have children and grandchildren and long to be in closer living proximity of one another. Here is an opportunity to not loose anything financially, and possibly gain new memories and friends.
There is no commitment to live elsewhere for long either. As a matter of fact, some of the current tax laws make it hard to stay away for longer than a few years. So, when contemplating being a Landlord for the first time, think about maybe just a few years, or 5 or more or selling. Think about the consequences of the time and what you’re trying to accomplish. Would the time matter? You would have your house, your equity, a renter, an income, plus you’d have the freedom to experience a new town, a new way of life, a new adventure. All the while still having the investment you may will or trust it to your children; and all with the comfort of knowing that you have left your children slightly ahead of the financial game-world. It’s a thought, anyway.
So no matter how one comes into owning a property to let. There are certain responsibilities. Responsibilities to yourself, to your tenant, to your property, to the Assessor.
Being a Landlord in any Country and town is the same. A Landlord has a specific duty and responsibility. There is a responsibility to “healthy living”; which applies to the building and implies no rodents and insects and good running plumbing. Every one agrees both Landlords and Tenants have rights, but no one really wants to have to force anyone to execute them. It is hoped and expected and understood that there are certain unwritten human, moral codes of ethics. Such as, if you break something, fix it; and if it broke, notify; and if you are no longer able to pay your rent, move. It’s not that Landlords are not sympathetic to a cause, but money is money and business is business. Since Landlords have mortgages that must be covered, they cannot afford to be sympathetic; at least not for long. After all, an investment is not suppose to lose money, it is suppose to make money.
Landlords need to be aware of the types of people who rent and some of the scams, stories, and filth they are capable of reeking. Of course there also exists the perpetual travelling renter who never stays in a city more than a couple of years. An indication of a possibly unsettled and short-term renter, which for some Landlords may be the right choice. Check the references if you can and minimally do a credit check.
There are a couple of ways to be a Landlord without doing a single thing. The obvious is to contact a Property Management company; they will do everything for you. If you want to be the Landlord and if you need help finding a renter, the newspaper is the number means of finding a renter, or having the renter find you. Put in the price, area, size and possibly the street or address. Also, the ‘drive-bys’ who already know they want the neighborhood will respond to a sign posted in front of the property. The second best way to find a renter is via a Realtor, but their job is mainly in sales.
Don’t forget the credit check. If you are a Landlord the credit check can be done for a small fee, for which you or the realtor or management is responsible. Credit check, length at employers, length at last residence, etc., all of the information adds up and could potentially tell you or give you insight into your renter and their financial habits.
Minimally, at least be as certain as certain can be that they will pay the rent and pay it timely without you, the Landlord having to hound them.
As a Landlord, repairs are easy, even from far away. Just find a local handyman, electrician, and plumber and interview them. Then give their number to your tenants. That way, the repairmen become part of your team and a common bond and comfort of client/serviceman forms.
Everyone knows how almost impossible it is to accumulate a big amount of cash or funds, so having saved your property may be a financially wise, long-term decision. Sometimes just knowing that piece of security and undeniable equity exists is the number one insurance for peace of mind
Refinancing, reverse mortgages, or renters, at least if you chose to be and stay a Landlord, you’ll know you will always have a means to get capital.
Regardless if you are a newcomer to properties, there is no reason to give them up if you don’t want to; and may be there is really no reason to dump your hard earned investment and families future, or past, inheritance.
If you decide that being a Landlord isn’t for you, then maybe you need to reinvest that money elsewhere, but that’s a different article.