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Top 10 Mistakes for DIY Landlords in 2022

Have you made any of the top 10 mistakes for DIY Landlords in 2022?

We all make mistakes in every area of our lives, to err is human. The problem with landlording mistakes is that they cost you money and time.

Here are 10 top mistakes DIY landlords make that can be avoided.

  1. Failing to pre-screen or screen tenants. Tenants are the lifeblood of your business, just like good employees are the lifeblood of an organization. As a business owner, you want to minimize your risks and maximize your profits. Preparing pre-screening and screening questions, and having a thorough vetting process including a credit check, recent pay stubs, landlord and work references helps you avoid tenant/financial landmines such as professional tenants who don’t pay and trash your property.
  2. Not showing a clean, well-maintained property. First impressions are everything. Clean, well-maintained properties attract quality tenants. Dirty, smelly, falling apart properties attract dirty, smelly tenants. Spend the money to keep your property in good repair and sparkling clean so that you have your pick of quality tenants.
  3. Not using property management software. Spreadsheets can only take you so far and they’re a pain to keep organized. There are many excellent property management software programs for landlords with small, medium, and large numbers of properties that keep you organized, track maintenance, and facilitate/foster good communication between you and your tenants.
  4. Not conducting regular property maintenance inspections. Once you’ve handed over the keys to the property, you need to make a point of scheduling inspections. Inspections let the tenants know you are staying on top of maintenance, and are avoiding any surprises such as unregistered occupants or pets, or grow operations. By offering a gift card for a coffee shop, a grocery store, or a potted plant, or entering their name into a draw to win a prize for having a beautifully maintained property, inspections can be time to foster good relations with your tenants too.
  5. Not making rent payments easy. Many property management programs offer automated payments or payments with credit cards, e-transfers are also a convenient payment method. If you’re driving around every month collecting checks or cash, there are definitely more efficient and convenient 21st-century ways to facilitate rent payments for tenants.
  6. Not being aware of your property’s home appliance age and condition. Everything has a best before date, and most landlords don’t like being hit with unexpected financial surprises. Track your appliance’s age, and schedule regular furnace, hot water tank, roof, and seasonal maintenance. It will save in the long term.
  7. Treating your tenants like the enemy. Without tenants, you wouldn’t have a rental business. Granted not all tenants are created equal, but once you’ve vetted and accepted tenants, they deserve to be treated with respect and politeness. If they call for maintenance requests, they are helping you maintain your business.
  8. Not educating your tenants on their responsibilities for your property. If you require your tenants to cut the lawn, weed the garden, and change the furnace filters, you need to let them know the requirements and how/when you’d like to have things done. Tenants come from different backgrounds and cultures, and providing them with clear, easy-to-understand documentation that outlines your expectations will keep you on the same page.
  9. Not having a team of trusted contractors. Crises situations are not the time to be searching for contractors. It’s best to have a core of trusted contractors who can take care of your maintenance issues before they occur.
  10. Not having an emergency contact number. Let’s say you’re on vacation in Mexico and your tenants call you in a panic because the sewage line has backed up and the basement is sitting in three feet of sewage water. Giving your tenants an emergency contact number for a 24/7 restoration company will get the problem dealt with immediately and save you on headache and ulcer medication.

Although it’s common to make mistakes, most landlording errors can be bypassed by adopting best practices from landlords who have gone before you. Adopting best practices translates to less stress, worry, and expenses for you. Taking the time now to put your systems in place now ensures your business runs smoothly in the present and the future.

What do you see as the most common landlord mistakes? I’d like to hear about it. If you’d like to connect with me, I’m at [email protected].

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