We go through life making mistakes. Nobody is perfect, and no one becomes successful overnight. Colin Powell once said, “There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.” If you’re brand new to the rental property industry, it’s easy to make a lot of beginner errors. Unless you are an expert advertiser, handyman, accountant, and knowledgeable in municipal laws, you may be in over your head. That’s where we come in! At Specialized Property Management Dallas, we are the property management company Dallas owners trust to help them avoid common mistakes that a lot of first time rental property owners make. Here are some mistakes we see all too often in this industry and ways our team can help prevent them.
Mistake #1: Leasing Delays and Extended Vacancies
Nothing is more frustrating than buying a rental home and seeing it sit for months on the market with no takers. But this can happen all too often if the monthly rental rate is too high and if the property isn’t marketed extensively. Since prices fluctuate, it is crucial to understand the current market. Too high of a price will discourage tenants, while too low of a price will reduce your cash flow.
We’ll help you lease your property faster by setting the right price with our free market rental analysis. You’ll get an expert evaluation of the value of the property based on our extensive experience in the Dallas rental markets. This is important to reduce your vacancy time and maximize your income. Worried about expensive advertising? We’ll post your property with free advertising on 80+ popular websites, our own website, and several other outlets in the Dallas/Ft. Worth Metroplex in order to attract more qualified applicants.
You can avoid long periods of vacancy between when a tenant moves out and a new one moves in by planning ahead. Prepare your property for the next tenants immediately once your previous ones move out. Do not wait to get your home in rent-ready condition. Without curb-appeal, qualified tenants won’t even set foot inside. There may be a month or two between tenants when you’ll have a vacancy, so our property management team suggests setting aside 3 months of rent at the get-go to cover this period of time. At SPM Dallas, we lease 95% of our rental properties in under 29 days, so you won’t need to worry about your home staying vacant for long.
Mistake #2: Poor Rental Property Selection
Don’t make the common mistake we’ve seen property owners make time and time again: poor rental property selection. As the leading property management company in Dallas, we know that choosing a rental home wisely makes a huge difference. It’s important to pick a property that has good rental potential. When choosing a new property, you should look at the neighborhood, the average rent for the area, crime rates, and more.
Try to choose a property that is close to shopping and schools, and pick one that’s on a quiet street instead of a busy or noisy road. Look for a home with a standard floor plan and a fenced-in backyard. Selecting a property that appeals to families can be a good move for rental owners. Dallas families will stay longer than single tenants on average, which means less turnover for you.
Mistake #3: Showing the Home Before it’s Ready
Showing your home while it’s undergoing a remodel or still being repainted can discourage tenants for good. Don’t put that “for lease” sign in the yard until you’ve rekeyed all the locks, had the home professionally cleaned, finished all paint touch-ups and remodeling, and checked all items off of our handy, “Rent-Ready” checklist.
If you can’t make yourself available for showings, hire a property management company in Dallas that can. Respond quickly to interested individuals. Video tours and images of your rental house are very useful and convenient. This maximizes exposure and allows others to view your home online before they come in person.
Mistake #4: Careless Tenant Qualification
Don’t pick the first tenant who applies for your property without running extensive background checks on that individual. Failing to check into your tenant’s background is the biggest no-no of self-managed rental properties! Why hand over the keys to a complete stranger? Tenant selection is an important process that should not be overlooked. It’s also a potential legal and regulatory trap for property managers. Lax tenant qualification procedures can lead to negative tenant interaction, high tenant turnover, and problems in rent collection, all of which can end up costing you a lot in the long run.
Once you begin to receive applications, make sure your screening process is rigorous and thorough. Verify employment, rental history, criminal history, and check credit to offer a clearer picture of the prospective tenant. At Specialized Property Management Dallas, we are considered an expert property management company in Dallas because we have an effective and proven process for placing reliable tenants. We check past rental history, examine credit history, and look at a tenant’s criminal background to ensure you’re getting a responsible tenant.
Mistake #5: Unpleasant Tenant Interactions
Dallas real estate property management is all about people and relationships. When you rent your previous home to tenants, it’s easy to get emotionally involved. Homes carry memories, and some landlords don’t like to see their home not being treated as they would treat it. You will be better off in this business if you can detach emotionally from the rental home and treat it and your tenants professionally.
Be sure you have a comprehensive, written leasing agreement that is legally binding so your tenant understands the standards and the rules they must follow while living in your rental home. Review the leasing agreement with your tenant prior to move-in, and answer any questions they may have. If a tenant defaults on the lease agreement, take immediate action. Specialized Property Management Dallas offers eviction services that protect you and your valuable asset.
Mistake #6: Failing to Maintain a Rental Property
Communicating with your tenants quickly and cheerfully keeps you in business longer. Answer maintenance calls or emails promptly to keep your tenants happy and your property value high. A lot of landlords are puzzled when tenants are eager to move out after just a few months. To avoid high tenant turnover, be the kind of landlord you would like to have. Respond to your tenant’s needs quickly and conduct regular property inspections to be sure the rental home is in tip-top shape.
Mistake #7: Inadequate Rent Collection
For a profitable investment, it’s essential to enforce the rent cycle. You won’t get anywhere in property management if you don’t collect rent every month. Set expectations early and give your tenants the ability to pay rent online and it won’t be such a big problem. Make your life even easier and keep digital records of all transactions.
As the #1 property management company in Dallas, we know you may be fearful that raising a tenant’s rent will cause them to move and give you a vacancy to deal with. These fears are not making you money! Most renters expect rent rates to rise on occasion, and are willing to pay fair market value. Raise the rent when you need to stay competitive and give your tenant plenty of advanced notice.
Mistake #8: Expensive Regulatory Violations
Avoid accruing fines and code violations by keeping up to date on all the required rules and regulations that come along with this business. Be sure you keep detailed records at all times so you have accurate documents if your tenant decides to take you to court. It is your job as the landlord to know the Americans with Disabilities Act, Fair Housing laws, confidentiality laws, habitability laws, federal and state regulations, and municipal codes, to name just a few. Failing to understand and practice these rules can result in litigation, penalties, and expensive fines.
If your home was built prior to 1978, give your tenant the Lead Paint Disclosure. The law states that each landlord must give new and/or renewing tenants a disclosure pamphlet about the hazards of lead-based paint to keep them safe and protected. Contrary to popular belief, many homeowners’ insurance policies will not cover the home if it is used for a rental property. Clarify your policy with your agent to ensure you have the right coverage.
Mistake #9: Neglecting Property Inspections
As the leading property management company in Dallas, we can’t emphasize enough how imperative it is that you conduct quarterly property inspections to keep your property in good shape and catch any maintenance issues before they become an expensive problem. Have a qualified, licensed inspector conduct the inspection and look for things like appliances on the fritz or doors and windows that won’t open and close properly. Regular inspections also allow you to ensure lease compliance. You don’t want your tenant hiding a pet at your property if you expressly forbid it in the lease agreement. Regular property inspections will result in a happier tenant, and you’ll have fewer complaint phone calls coming your way.
Mistake #10: Inefficient or Overlooked Maintenance
The number one reason why tenants leave a rental home? Their landlord does not address their maintenance requests or concerns. Some landlords may think, “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it!” but that is a risky motto in property management. Landlords should do everything in their power to respond to their tenant’s maintenance requests quickly and efficiently if they want to keep them as a tenant. Set aside money every month for future maintenance issues. They will happen, so be prepared!
Pick the Expert Property Management Company in Dallas
Don’t make mistakes you can easily avoid! Let us make your life easier with our comprehensive property management services today! Contact your Specialized Property Management Dallas team at 214-233-7572!