Rental properties can usually provide cash flow, so many real estate investors choose this option to work with. However, it’s not as easy as it may seem. The more properties you rent, the more complex it becomes. So, you might decide to take a brief course to ease your way into being a landlord. Jerry Ta – a real estate broker, investor, and property manager – did several of them and realized the advice he was getting wasn’t entirely helpful. Meanwhile, there were crucial things that no one was talking about.
For that reason, he hosted Real Estate IQ’s webinar “Unconventional tips for a landlord investor.” He shared eight practical tips that are mostly left out when teaching about this exit strategy. “Ultimately, the goal when you own rentals is to make them more enjoyable. There are tough moments in it, and it gets to a point where owning rentals is not as enjoyable anymore,” the expert pointed out.
In fact, Ta explained that behind his unconventional advice for landlords laid several reasons:
- Make owning rentals more enjoyable.
- Maintain a professional relationship with tenants.
- Increase the desirability of the rental property.
- Increase the value of the property (force appreciation).
- Make some preventative maintenance.
- Reduce potential future renovation costs.
- Durability or lack of durability of materials used.
8 unconventional tips for landlord investors
For those of you who attended the webinar – and want to retake a look at his advice – or for those that couldn’t make it, but are curious about this unconventionality, here are Ta’s eight tips for landlords:
- Uniformity – This is one of the essential things the investor first learned. “Uniformity is the key to scaling. For instance, use the same paint color in all your properties,” he recommended. But this is not limited to painting: landlords should consider duplication of everything done, set standards and practices and actually stick to them, avoid re-inventing the wheel each time, and always find ways to improve.
- Access to main utilities – When renting properties, it’s advantageous to know your way around your homes. At this point, the investor encouraged attendees to see where the accesses to the electrical panel, water shut-off, and gas meter are.
- Contractors – Ta suggested not solely to listen to contractors. Why? Well, because everyone has their own agenda, so they might advocate for actions that aren’t entirely in your best interest. So, when talking to them, always keep in mind your goals, priorities, and rules.
- Paint type – Forget about glossy and oil-based paint! “Instead of glossy paint, I use the flat one. It hides all the imperfections on walls, which is why it’s used on ceilings. As for the doors, trims, and cabinets, it’s better to opt for water-based paint,” he revealed. Moreover, consider using only 2 or 3 colors for walls, and apply the same exterior color paint as the interior wall color.
- Granite countertops – If you’re moving from a formica countertop, you know that it typically comes with a 4-inch backsplash. Remember that you can leave it like that even if you choose granite to replace it. This way, you reduce costs.
- Flooring – Say goodbye to carpets! Ta strongly recommended getting rid of them since most tenants have pets, and it’s virtually impossible to clean them thoroughly. Instead, go for vinyl plank (glue down, and floating are waterproof) or tiles (but don’t keep them straight).
- Fixtures – “Most people might prefer ceiling fans in each room, but I would recommend setting them aside only to the master bedroom and main living room,” Ta observed. And try to avoid the ones that need removing a diffuser to get to the lightbulbs. For the rest of the place, just put one lightbulb for every light fixture – and standardize them!
- Verbal communication – Lastly, the speaker advised to minimize verbal communication with tenants. “Don’t interview your applicants. The screening should speak for itself; there’s nothing else to learn that’s not already stated there,” he said. Plus, don’t forget that instructions need to be standardized and written, and the same goes for your expectations.
Some of the recommendations might seem odd and even against your – or your tenants’ – taste. However, there’s one thing you must not forget: “It is a rental. You’re not living inside the house. This is not your dream home; it’s not even your home,” Ta concluded. Yes, it might be tempting to add nice features and use different colors, but keep in mind that its only purpose is to accommodate tenants. It’s supposed to be friendly and neat, but you shouldn’t customize it up to a point where it’s hard to keep track of every detail.
Disclaimer: The blog articles are intended for educational and informational purposes only. Nothing in the content is designed to be legal or financial advice.