If you are looking at becoming a first time landlord or you are forced to become a landlord because you can’t sell your house, this is an excellent resource and checklist to help you get started.
The First Time Landlord Checklist
There are a variety of rental agreements you can use for free or for a fee. All of these can be found online. Some good legal sources for state related rental agreements can be found at the LawDepot, RocketLawyer and LegalZoom.
Similar to the rental agreement, it is essential that you have a rental application that you use for every single interested applicant. You can find rental applications online as well at Zillow, EZLandlordForms, MrLandlord, and you can customize them at LawDepot.
Separate Bank Account
Keeping a separate bank account is good business practice. It will also help you easily keep track of all revenue and expenses for your rental property.
Credit / Background Checks
Separate Email and Phone Line
Communicating with your personal email and phone with your renter is not the end of the world but separating them makes life so much better. Especially when they move out or if there are any landlord / tenant conflicts that might arise. The easiest way to get a new email address is to use gmail. You can either get a new free gmail account like firstname.lastname@example.org or if you want you can look more professional and get a business domain and email account from google as well.
You must market your rental and the easiest and most cost effective way to do this is to market your properties online. You can review some of the best rental marketing articles from below.
Speak with your local insurance agent but it is always a good idea to protect your assets especially if you own multiple rental properties. We have an umbrella policy to help protect our assets since we own multiple rental properties.
There are larger property management systems out there like RealPage, Appfolio, Yardi, Entrata and others but these are too expensive for small landlords that own less than 20 units. If you are looking for marketing software and other landlord tools you can use rentbits to help with those needs.
If you manage 1 or a few properties, the easiest and best accounting software to use would be Intuit Quickbooks. It is dead simple to use and it can link to your new bank account and reconcile for you automatically.
For receipts and invoices, we recommend digitizing them and using Google Drive for your mobile device. Simply take a picture of the receipt so you can add them to your property folder automatically.
We are not very carpentry inclined so we use HomeAdvisor.com to find our handyman or woman to help with small and large projects within the rental property. From fixing the broken AC to even replacing carpet. HomeAdvisor can do it all.