Many landlords fall into the same traps, but if you are not careful these consistent oversights can turn into huge landslides of trouble.
Setting the rent too high or too low
Before purchasing an investment property, extensive research must be carried out to determine an appropriate rental price. If the rent is set too high, the property might not attract enough interest from prospective tenants. It will sit vacant and gathering dust while you achieve no profit return. On the other hand, if the rent is set too low you may experience financial pressure and the property may attract undesirable tenants.
Look at listings similar to yours in both features and locality to gage what the rental price should be.
If a property manager is hired, they should be able to provide you with information on similar listings and advise you on an appropriate rental price.
The article below appeared today in the news.com.au real estate section and is a timely reminder of the financial drain that some people can find themselves in over the Christmas period. When it comes to weighing up between the many costs of surviving Christmas or paying rent on time the landlord can often be the loser ending up with a nasty new year surprise! The key lesson mentioned in the article and one that I fully support is to ensure that you utilise the services of a professional property manager, they are are worth every cent when something goes wrong and they know exactly what to do about it, after all, that’s their specialty. Read on below or click here to go to the original article –
THE festive season is a danger period for property investors, and real estate experts are warning landlords to make sure they don’t suffer a financial hit from tardy tenants.
The general manager of Harris Property Management, Suzie Hamilton-Flanagan, says rental arrears can jump by more than 20 per cent over Christmas as tenants find other areas to spend money. ‘Sometimes rent is the last thing on their list,” she says. ‘Landlords managing their own properties need to make sure they are on top of this from the start, or they risk paying for their tenant’s good cheer.” Some landlord insurance policies provide cover for tenants who fail to pay, but Hamilton-Flanagan says if a landlord fails to go through the correct processes when dealing with late-paying tenants, ‘an insurance payout for a late rental claim can be impacted”. She says one suggestion during December may be to send the tenants a card, perhaps with a small gift, gently reminding them of payment dates during the busy Christmas season. ‘Create a relationship with the tenant and treat people as you would want to be treated. The mentality of a tenant is they are paying you this money and they want bang for their buck – they want the property maintained, repaired and the landlord to be respectful.” The first step in preventing late payment is to select the right tenant from the start, Hamilton-Flanagan says, which involves checking a tenant’s payment history by contacting previous agents and landlords.
Carolyn Majda, executive manager at landlord insurer Terri Scheer Insurance, says one of the best ways to protect yourself is to use a professional property manager. ‘That way you have someone who is looking after the rent religiously,” she says. Majda says a lot of property managers send out pre-Christmas newsletters with rental payment dates included. ‘It’s nice to send a Christmas card – we all lose track of dates around this time of the year.” She says investors who manage a property themselves need to be on top of any late payments immediately. ‘Don’t let it start accruing. The longer time goes, the bigger the problem for both landlord and tenant,” Majda says.’Even if it is a day late, be on top of it.’It’s also really important that you take out insurance at the start of a tenancy, before you have people in there, because if they are behind in their rent it can create some issues – it’s almost like having a car accident and then insuring your car.”
One thing that property investors can sometimes discover the hard way is the importance of ensuring that they have adequate landlord’s insurance on their investment properties. When things are going well and you have a great tenant who looks after the property and pays their rent on time it can be an easy thing to overlook and can often be avoided because of additional cost. I’ve discovered through personal experience and listening to the experiences of others that it is an essential component in every investor’s bag of tricks.
Yes it is an additional expense (although if you do your research you can get some good deals) but it is worth its weight in gold if things go pear-shaped (and it’s tax deductible). One of the other traps that property investors can fall into is assuming that the building insurance on the property automatically covers them for landlord and tenant associated issues, this is not always (and often rarely) the case. Make sure that you are familiar with what your building policy does and does not cover. The benefits of landlord’s insurance come into their own if there are issues with rental payment defaults and malicious damage to the premises. Give it some thought, what expenses would I have if a tenant doesn’t pay their rent, intentionally damages the property or even if they move out and leave the house full of their unwanted junk? It could really add up. Then consider, what happens if there ends up being a couch on the roof, old mattresses up a tree and old underwear in the garden…the mind boggles but it does happen! To see an example of when you would definitely want to ensure your landlord’s insurance policy was up to date (although somewhat extreme) check out the recent example below from Melbourne.