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becoming a landlord

five things to do before becoming a landlord

You may have considered becoming a landlord for several reasons. Whether you put your house, basement or even a room within your home up for rent, the apartment rental market can be a great way to earn extra income or to help you pay the bills. If you have given the subject serious thought, and have decided to become a landlord, here are five things you need to know before putting your property on the market:

research market trends
Before you dive in, take some time to research the apartment rental market in your area. It is important that you assess the market demand as well as the current pricing and offerings other landlords are making in properties similar to yours. This will give you an opportunity to objectively evaluate your unit, consider renovations and the value proposition of your home.

be aware of and prepare for the responsibility
Being a landlord comes with a full set of responsibilities – ranging from collecting rent, to keeping your building safe, to maintaining a good state of repair. Remember that you are in charge of handling and paying for all the repairs in the unit when something goes wrong. You should be handy and ready to attend to common household problems, such as a leaky faucet or a clogged toilet. For major problems, you should have a list of qualified contractors you have previously interviewed. This will save you a lot of time and trouble when emergencies arise.

cleanliness and fresh paint can go a long way
Do a thorough clean of your property before making it available for viewing. You would be surprised how well a crisp, clean and open space can do in terms of attracting quality potential tenants. While stylish upgrades are optional, a clean place is not. This also applies to the surroundings of the unit – make sure the backyard and lawn are clean and properly maintained.

write a lease
A lawyer can help you understand the local laws about landlords and tenants. If you are a first-time landlord, you should seriously consider hiring an attorney to write a landlord-tenant agreement, which can protect you if anything happens.

If you are on the fence because of the lawyer’s fee, consider the legal and financial implications a poorly-written contract may bring. An agreement written by a lawyer may safeguard you and your property, and prevent the discomfort of a long litigation process.

find the right tenant
Becoming a landlord can be a profitable venture as well as a fun one. To make this a pleasant experience, however, you must carefully screen all potential tenants. Ask apartment hunters to fill out an application and perform a thorough investigation based on this information. Confirm the applicant’s income and financial stability, ask for character references and perform a background check. You will be trusting this person with one of your most valuable assets, so it is imperative to ensure they will pay rent on time and take good care of your property. When asking for personal references, remember that a person may be economically stable, but difficult to work with.

There is no doubt that being a landlord can be an exciting and rewarding endeavour. If you keep these five things in mind, your renting journey will most likely be a pleasant one. Remember your property and income are at stake, so take care of your investment and enjoy the ride!

— Ana Emperatriz Font is an advertising and marketing professional with a passion for travelling and photography. Venezuela born, this free spirit has moved eight times – across three countries – over the past seven years. Her latest adventure has brought her to Canada to pursue a postgraduate certificate in social media at Seneca College. Font loves the outdoors, cooking and breaking away from routine. She also loves writing and sharing her insights on the best ways to pack up everything and go.

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