So, You Wanna Be a Landlord
By: Trevor Davidson – President & CEO ApartmentLove.com
Interest rates are at near historic lows, there’s an unprecedented demand for rental properties and, let’s face it, being a landlord seems easy. I mean, buy the apartment, give it a good cleaning a fresh coat of paint and spot fix a couple holes in the drywall, post the apartment for rent, meet some prospects, sign a lease and collect the rent. You could do that in a week, 10-days tops! Hey, you’ve got some cash collecting dust in some “no-yield” checking account, may as well put the funds to work!
Finding Your Investment Property
Buying a home for yourself is vastly different than buying a home for someone else – let alone someone you’ve never met. Unique features, amenities and “quirks” that made all the difference to you and caused you to fall in love with a property may be detractors and seen as pain-points to someone else.
Before you rush into a purchase because, “the crown moulding is exquisite” or, “the front yard has the most incredible tire swing,” step back and ask yourself if the random person, the one you’ll be painting neutral earth tone walls and buying entry-level granite countertops for would want this property. Save and except for markets like Toronto and Vancouver where everything and anything rents instantaneously and for top-dollar, there’s a chance that you’ll have to carry the mortgage for at least a month and maybe longer – especially in markets like Calgary and Edmonton today.
Marketing Your Property
The mechanics of advertising your rental are about as straightforward as possible. Clean the unit from top to bottom and take between 10 to 20 good-quality photos. Identify as many of the features and amenities that you can, but remember your audience (which is more than likely the millennial generation) is only going to glance at your photos and skim the description before reaching out to you. The best advice is to get all the main points down, (# of bedrooms, bathrooms, availability and the asking rent) and advertise your listing as soon as possible.
The trick to effectively marketing your property is to make your rental stand-out over the rest. While the photos certainly help and the location of your rental is also important, the millennial generation is an Experience Centric Consumer. They want to be part of something. They want a story. They want a reason to rent beyond the fundamental need for shelter. So, make sure to share with them why you bought the home in the first place and what owning the unit means to you. Explain what attracted you to this particular property – and show them in your photos and during your walk-throughs, those features.
Create a sense of home and build excitement in your prospects. Give them every opportunity to fall in love with your home and trust me, they will.
Professional Trades Save You Money
Your rental property, just like your own home, will need ongoing maintenance and repairs. While it’s admirable that you want to do the work yourself, it’s not in your best interest, your tenant’s best interest or your rental’s best interest. Hire professional tradespeople and know the work will be done well and done quickly.
Landlords are well-advised to get multiple quotes, especially for larger jobs, but choosing the least expensive partner isn’t smart. Discount trades survive by undercutting their competition and racing through projects, cutting corners and skipping steps along the way, to finish the job as fast as possible. While you may save a couple bucks today, you end up spending much more when the “quick fix” breaks and you’ve got a flooded apartment and some furious tenants. Hiring experienced and capable professionals will ensure the work is done on-time and on-budget will afford you, your rental and most importantly your tenants the peace of mind and sense of security that results in long-term and profitable relationships.
Do Your Homework
Know your market and know your customer. Accept the simple fact that a 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom condo in Halifax will command considerably less for rent than a comparable unit in Vancouver or Toronto. Have security and credit checks done before signing a lease with any prospects. Use your good judgement and your common sense. Most of all, be active and responsive to your renters. When you receive a tenant referral, operate with a sense of urgency.
While your property is your asset, your tenants are your lifeline. Treat them well and show that you respect them and will do the same for you.
This article was authored by: Trevor Davidson – President & CEO of ApartmentLove.com.
Drawing its namesake from the “feeling of home” the moment you step through the door, ApartmentLove.com is among the largest apartment rental platforms in the world! Home to hundreds of thousands of rental listings across Canada and throughout the United States, landlords can quickly and easily advertise their rental properties on ApartmentLove.com by clicking here.