Whether you are a homeowner or someone who rents to others one of the worst things you can deal with is a foreclosure. Planning ahead and paying the mortgage every month is the standard, but when something comes up that keeps you from paying it can be a stressful experience. To avoid the difficulty that comes with missing a mortgage payment here are some tips to follow.
Keep your rentals full: If you are a landlord it is important to keep your properties full and have as little time as possible in between tenants while still maintaining clean, up to code properties. The tenants’ rent essentially pays your mortgage so if you have empty apartments and homes you are out the money they would bring in otherwise. While it may not seem like a big deal at first, it is always good to have the extra income so if something goes wrong and you can’t handle the mortgage on your own, you have the rent money to fall back on. Don’t slack off advertising you apartments and even create a waitlist so you have people you can call as soon as you know someone is moving out.
Find quality renters: Having quality tenants is important as you know they will pay on time, respect the property and not cause trouble. Screen the tenants in both application questions and in-person interviews so you can get an understanding of who they are and what kind of tenant they will be. Do a background check and call references and past landlords. Rushing to fill open spots without proper screening puts you at risk of renting to someone who is not going to pay the rent on time, or at all. You also risk having to pay for damage to the place, eviction fees and numerous other charges as you try to get a bad tenant out and get a good tenant in.
Look for long-term renters: A quality tenant is not necessarily a long-term tenant so it is important to look for people who will stay longer than a single year. You want tenants who will renew and stay as long as possible. So students or people working temporary jobs can be quality tenants, but are not likely to be long term. So when the choice is available, go with the person who is more likely to stay for at least a few years. The longer the tenant stays the less frequently you have to find new ones and risk missing rent while the place is empty.
Maintain your property: A well-maintained property is key to getting and keeping tenants renting from you. A poorly maintained property tells the renter that you don’t care. Renters want to be able to trust their landlord and know that if something goes wrong, you will be there to fix it. If a maintenance call is made you should contact them immediately and fix it as soon as possible. You should also trade your outdated appliances for newer more energy efficient models. Keep things running properly and make sure the tenant has someone to call when something goes wrong. Not responding and fixing the problem will cost you a tenant and all the rent that they would have paid while staying.
Be a good landlord: Tenants don’t want to deal with sketchy landlords or a landlord that only comes by when the rent is due. They want to feel welcome and have a good relationship with you. This can’t happen if you only see your tenant as a way to make money. Make sure they have a way to reach you and don’t be afraid to send a text or email asking them how they like the place and if they need anything fixed. The stronger the tenant-landlord relationship is, the more likely they are to stay and rent from you in the long term.
Your mortgage is a crucial expense you must pay. To help you pay the monthly bill as well as keep the apartments filled it is important to rent to quality, long-term tenant who you can depend on and who can depend on you. Following these steps will keep your tenants paying the rent and you from running into trouble paying the mortgage every month.