Investing in real estate can generate passive income, significant tax benefits and build equity from price appreciation over the years. However, while this may sound exciting, the reality of being a landlord is it can often be very stressful.
For example, you may encounter difficult tenants. From the needy tenant who calls for everything, to the tenant who always pays rent late.
As a landlord, you also have the responsibility of making sure your property is well-maintained. Your renters may call you for every leaky tap and every missing shingle.
Admittedly, that’s a lot for one person to handle! More so, if you are a new landlord.
So, to ensure you do your tasks effectively and thus ensure your investment is profitable in the long term, you need a team of real estate professionals. For example, a property manager, a general contractor, a lawyer, a property inspector, and a real estate agent.
These can prove extremely helpful when it comes to keeping your properties in top-notch condition, solving legal problems, securing reliable renters and more.
1. Certified Public Accountant
As a landlord, you will need to ensure your tax returns are properly calculated and submitted. A good accountant will take care of all your accounting needs and make sure your records are updated regularly.
In addition, a great accountant can also help you claim your deductions and credits when tax season comes around. Some of the deductions include:
- Legal and professional services
- Employee and independent contractors
- Home office
- Personal property
- Depreciation for rental real property
Often, these benefits make the difference between losing money and earning a decent return on investment.
2. Real Estate Lawyer
A lease is a contractual agreement between you and your tenant. Breaking any part of its terms can oftentimes lead to financial and legal consequences. To be on the safe side, keep an attorney on retainer, especially if you have multiple properties.
A good real estate lawyer will help you:
- Handle your legal responsibilities. Among other things, this includes adhering to all building codes, maintaining common areas, performing necessary repairs, and keeping all vital services, such as heat, electricity, and plumbing, in good working order.
- Understand your state’s specific landlord-tenant laws. For example, what your state says about security deposits.
- Know the federal landlord-tenant laws. The Fair Housing Act prohibits tenant discrimination based on certain protected classes.
As a landlord, understanding your rights and legal obligations will not only help you protect yourself but also your investment business.
3. Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent is also another vital real estate professional an investor can’t live without. A good agent can provide a myriad of services.
First and foremost, they can help you find the right property to invest in. Real estate agents either possess intimate knowledge or they know where to find the industry buzz about a particular area.
Real estate agents can also help you find qualified renters. Needless to say, a vacant property is a nightmare. It basically means zero income at the end of the month.
A good real estate agent can also help you screen potential renters as well. This can help weed out bad tenants.
4. Property Manager
Property managers can help you handle lease negotiations, rent collection, property inspections, evictions, and lease terminations. In fact, if you hire a great manager, they may be the only professional you’ll need.
However, while they can be really helpful, not every rental property owner needs to hire a property manager. To help you make the right decision, ask yourself the following questions:
- From a financial standpoint, is managing your property the best use of your time?
- How well do you understand the laws governing being a landlord?
- Are you willing to confront tenants about late payments and, if need be, evict them from the property?
- How quickly are you able to get your unit rented?
- How much experience do you have with maintenance and repairs?
- Are you willing to be on call 24/7/365?
- How many rental properties or units do you have?
- Do you consider yourself to be a tolerant person?
- How far do you live from your rental property and how frequently can you visit the property on a regular basis?
5. General Contractor
As a landlord, you need to stay well-informed on maintenance issues to keep a unit comfortable and running efficiently. Routine property maintenance tasks include:
- Cleaning the gutters. Gutters can easily become clogged with leaves and other debris. These can then cause leaks at your property.
- Flushing the water heater. Experts recommend draining the water heater once or twice a year. This helps prevent the build-up of sediment in your unit from the municipal water supply that enters your property.
- Changing the filters of the forced air systems. Dirty filters can lead to malfunctions or increase your utility bills.
- Testing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. These devices save lives. As such, you want to ensure they are regularly maintained.
These are some of the many maintenance tasks that a general contractor may be able to help you with. Cultivating a good relationship is, therefore, key.
6. Property Inspector
Property inspections are vital. They help landlords protect their investments by monitoring their assets at various stages of the tenancy.
Roughly speaking, there are four types of property inspections.
- Move-in Inspection. This checks the condition of the property prior to the tenant moving in.
- Move-out Inspection. This checks whether the renter has caused any damage exceeding normal wear and tear.
- Seasonal Inspection. This is done seasonally as each season brings its own set of maintenance challenges.
- Drive-by Inspection. This helps provide a quick assessment of a property. Renters don’t need to be notified.
By acting on the recommendations of the inspector, you’ll help keep your property cared for and avoid habitability issues.
When all is said and done, being a landlord is a team effort. More so, if you have multiple properties. By building good relationships with these real estate professionals, you can rest assured that your career as a landlord, for the most part, will be stress-free.