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What You Shouldn’t Do as a Landlord

The real estate market is looking pretty appealing these days. Real estate is outperforming stocks for the first time in a while, and it’s not hard to see why: More and more Americans are renting their homes instead of buying them. If you can afford to buy real estate and rent it out, it’s a good time to do so, especially as a potential bear market looms, threatening to delay home-buying dreams and continue the trends that have made renting more appealing to so many Americans.

Maybe you’ve already seen these opportunities, and maybe you’re now renting out a property to supplement your income or, perhaps, as your main career. If you’re a landlord, then you already understand what new income property buyers are about to discover: This is a whole lot of work. Landlords have a ton of responsibilities, and between collecting rent and maintaining your property, you may find yourself wishing you had more hours in the day.

Yes, landlords have a lot to do, but that doesn’t mean that you should be doing all of it on your own. In fact, there are things that you shouldn’t do as a landlord, because you should hire someone else to do them for you. Here are a few things to consider outsourcing to streamline your income property business.

Do as a Landlord

Rental listings and applications

To land the right tenant for your rental property, you’ll need to advertise your property — preferably online, because that’s where the overwhelming majority of potential tenants are apartment- and house-hunting these days. You should have an online presence as a landlord or a business, but you shouldn’t rely only on that. Instead, turn to great real estate software solutions that make life easier on landlords. Get the right website to help you set up a great rental listing (in fact, you may even want to hire a copywriter, a professional photographer, and other pros to take care of the listing itself), and use the same website to set up a rental application for your would-be tenants to fill out right then and there. Then, all you’ll have to do is log on to see your options! It sure beats paperwork.

Background and credit check

Here’s another thing that landlord software can do for you: background and credit checks of potential tenants.

Granted, this was never something you did entirely on your own. But even connecting with the right agencies to check credit histories and criminal records can be a hassle when you’re busy. So why not use an all-in-one solution, courtesy of your landlord software solution?

Maintenance and repair

Even the least experienced landlords will soon find themselves transformed into DIYers of sorts. Why call the contractor over every little leak or scratch in the paint? It’s a fair enough instinct, but be careful. Trying to do too much yourself here can lead to bigger and more costly problems.

Here’s a better idea: Sign a contract with a building maintenance company or set up deals with multiple contractors to make regular visits and small jobs more affordable. Sure, it might cost a bit more day to day, but you’ll avoid bigger disasters by heading off issues early — and be being sure that the pros, and not you, are handling the “smaller” issues on your property. With the right maintenance contracts, you’ll be less reliant on your own inspections and your own handiwork, which will make your investment safer while freeing up more of your time.

Taxes

There are a lot of great tax breaks for landlords out there. Are you taking advantage of them? If you’re doing your own taxes, even with the help of decent tax software, there’s a good chance that you’re not catching every way in which you could save money.

Pros out there can handle this stuff. You’ll pay a bit for quality tax work, but an experienced tax profession who specializes in real estate can help you find big ways to save on your taxes. That means that your operation will be leaner and more profitable — all while you save time that you would have otherwise spent cursing at your computer’s tax software.

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