As someone who teaches property management for a living, I’m always on the lookout for great tips, tricks, and hacks to cut landlord labor and expenses.
So I often ask members to share their favorite tips and tactics in our landlord Facebook groups. Many of them are classics I’ve heard repeated through the ages. Others are novel and different.
But none of them should be ignored.
Here are six recurring themes that I’ve heard over and over again from other landlords. I’ve covered some before in detail, but this list reads as a great summary of what every landlord should be doing to boost their returns and cut down on their work.
Below are direct quotes from real landlords. As most of them are not public figures, I’ve abbreviated the majority of names to their last initial.
6 Recurring Secrets to Success From Experienced Landlords
1. Retaining good tenants must be a priority.
Tenant retention is crucial to your success as a landlord.
Why? Because turnovers are ROI-killers.
“Treat good tenant with respect. People don’t like the hassle of moving unless it is necessary. Good experience, longer stay.”
2. Screen tenants aggressively & minimize vacancies.
Just as you want to retain good tenants, you also need to avoid bad tenants if you want lower turnovers.
3. Don’t invest too low-end.
There’s a niche of landlords who have success with very low-end properties. But they’re exactly that: a niche.
The average landlord should reconsider before investing in rough neighborhoods.
4. But don’t invest too high-end, either.
I believe there’s a sweet spot for rental properties. Too low-end, and you face endless battles with renters and enforcing your lease. Too high-end, and the margins are too thin.
5. Enforce your (protective!) lease.
We stress this over and over with our students: Your lease is not just another formality to sign and have done with. It should be thoughtfully designed to protect both your property from physical damage and you from legal liability.
And, of course, just having a thorough, protective lease agreement isn’t enough. You need to actually enforce it, both firmly and professionally.
6. Incentivize good behavior.
Another way you can design your lease to your advantage is to build in incentives for good behavior and penalties for bad behavior.
A Silver Bullet?
If there’s one thing I know about landlording, it’s that strong returns don’t come from one silver bullet, but from a holistic, systematic approach to managing your rentals.
Your returns as a landlord aren’t based on a typical month. They’re based on how well you can avoid the big, hairy, expensive interruptions that come along infrequently.
Turnovers. Evictions. Large repairs. Tenant damage. Lawsuits.
When we teach property management best practices, we focus on systematically preventing and minimizing these expenses. That means having a system in place to stay several steps ahead of them.