All homeowners make mistakes when they’re renting out their Orlando home. Even experienced investors run into the same problems over and over because of a misstep or an error. It’s normal. The problem is, a lot of these mistakes can be expensive. A big mistake can lead to a claim or a lawsuit.
We’re talking about the most common mistakes we see owners make when they convert their homes to rental properties. Try to avoid these six issues.
Poor Pricing with Your Orlando Home
Your home’s rental value will depend largely on the market.
This is sometimes difficult to accept, especially if you’re hoping to earn a certain amount in order to cover your mortgage and expenses. But, if the Orlando rental market doesn’t support the rental value you’re hoping for, there’s no point in pricing it that high. It won’t rent, and the vacancy will cost you a lot of money.
Take a look at what homes similar to yours are renting for in your neighborhood. Price your home competitively, otherwise it will sit vacant, and that vacancy cost will be far more damaging than bringing the asking price down by $150 or $200 per month.
Inadequate Tenant Screening
When you’re screening and selecting tenants, have a documented process in place, and follow it consistently. Otherwise, you could make a mistake when you’re choosing a tenant.
Have a set of written rental criteria in place so you can demonstrate that everyone is screened against the same standards. Check income and employment, look for past evictions or criminal convictions, and always check landlord references. Not screening tenants is a big mistake. Screening tenants improperly is also a big mistake. There are local, state, and federal fair housing laws that need your attention. Violating one of them can cost thousands of dollars in penalties and fines.
Place a tenant that can be counted on to pay rent on time and take care of your property. A bad tenant will cost you time, money, and a lot of stress. Don’t choose the first tenant who shows an interest. Set a process and trust it.
Not Responding to Routine or Preventative Maintenance
If you’re not responding to routine and emergency maintenance issues with a sense of urgency, you’re making a big mistake. You need vendors you can count on, and a plan for responding to and paying for the required maintenance issues.
Emergencies obviously require immediate action. When a tenant calls because the property is flooding or there’s no air conditioning during the hottest days of the summer, you need to take action right away to keep the property habitable.
A lot of landlords make the mistake of not being responsive when routine repair requests are made. Quick response times will show your tenants that you care, and that will increase your retention rates. Immediate maintenance responses also lead to a property that’s better maintained. Don’t avoid maintenance.
Hiring Unqualified Vendors
Not responding to maintenance issues is a big mistake. An even bigger mistake is trying to make cheap fixes. There is a way to complete maintenance work cost-effectively. But, you have to trust the people who do it.
Working with professional vendors and contractors who are licensed, insured, and bonded has to be non-negotiable when you’re renting out an Orlando property. Don’t make the mistake of seeking out the cheapest possible workers or using sub-standard materials when you’re attending to routine maintenance. Be preventative and use good, qualified vendors who stand by their work. Otherwise, you’re putting your entire investment at risk.
Not Enforcing or Following the Lease Agreement
Your lease agreement is a written contract between you and your tenants. You have to enforce it and hold both yourself and your residents accountable to what’s included there.
For example, if there are late fees for rent that isn’t paid on time, make sure you charge them. If the lease agreement says there’s no smoking on the property and your maintenance vendors report that are making repairs while your tenants are smoking, address the issue with your residents.
The lease contains important information about who is responsible for what at the property. There are expectations and responsibilities clearly spelled out. But, it means nothing if you don’t follow the lease. Make sure you pay attention to it, and make sure your tenants know that they are accountable to it as well.
Not Working with an Orlando Property Manager
Trying to self-manage doesn’t have to be a mistake, but unless you have the time and the resources to manage and lease your home effectively, it could lead to problems. Property managers know the laws and we work hard to stay up to date on all industry best practices.
Hire a professional Orlando property management company if you want to protect yourself and your investment. You’ll save money, and you won’t have to worry about these expensive mistakes.
We’re always happy to help. Contact us at Park Avenue Property Management for more information.