So you want to be a Landlord . . . .
Why would anyone ever want to be a Landlord? A question I ask myself regularly but there are a LOT of POTENTIAL positives to investing in Real Estate:
- Long Term income stream
- Tax Advantages
- Diversification of Investments
- Appreciation of Asset Value
As with all investments there are also several POTENTIAL risks, or negative aspects:
- Tenant issues
- Maintenance Challenges
- Time commitment involved
- Cash Flow Risk
There are many aspects to deciding whether or not to invest in Real Estate, while the list below is certainly NOT ALL INCLUSIVE, here are 5 things to think about/familiarize yourself with:
- Landlord-Tenant Law The State of Michigan has laws governing the Landlord-Tenant relationship, a great place to start researching this is https://www.michigan.gov/ag/0,4534,7-359-82915_82919_82241_82248—,00.html This website also includes a .pdf document titled “Practical Guide for Tenants and Landlords” which is a great resource and includes sample leases and other documents
- Local Rental Restrictions Many Local jurisdictions have regulations regarding Rental Housing which may include fees for registration, licensing, inspections, etc. A good place to start is with the local taxing authority for the property you are planning to purchase rent out.
- What do you take on, what do you hire out? Many investors hire a Property Management Company to handle leasing, maintenance requests, rent collection and other items. Of course they also charge a fee typically 8-10% of gross rent for this service. If you plan to self-manage, get your documents in order and make sure you have your maintenance company/crew lined up, at a minimum this should include HVAC, Plumbing, Electrical, Handyman, Lawn care.
- Keeping your Records and Finances Organized Meet with a Lawyer and a Tax Professional early on to review your documents and record keeping systems. Be sure to get a good understanding from your Tax Professional on what items are deductible for tax purposes and how your records need to be maintained.
- Finding Tenants and Screening If you self-manage, research where to advertise for tenants, and document your tenant selection process. Use a uniform application, ask for and review references. Credit checks are a good idea and there are services that will perform these for you. It’s also a great idea to review EEO laws and your processes with a Lawyer.
Investing in Real Estate isn’t for everyone, but has provided solid income streams for many people. Trying to decide if its right for you? Talk to a REALTOR that is experienced in Investment Properties.
Give me a call and let’s talk!