There is no denying it, the Atlanta rental market is hot. Rents in the Atlanta metro area are increasing as the economy continues to grow rapidly. If you are considering investing in Atlanta real estate now is the time to get started. Owning a single-family rental home is a good investment because it can bring you immediate cash flow as well as build equity for the future. However, before you jump in, you need to do a little research on how to be successful in real estate. Too many first-time real estate investors make mistakes that cost thousands of dollars and put their investment at risk. To help you begin your journey on the right foot we share six tips for Atlanta property management success.
1 – Pick the Right Property
Before you purchase a rental property, you need to think like a renter. Buying a home with the intention to rent it out is different than buying a home for your personal residence. When you are searching for a property to invest in, keep these factors in mind:
- Location, location, location! Find a property with access to public transportation, good schools, shopping, and restaurants. Buying in a prime location will reduce vacancy days.
- What amenities does the home offer? Single-family rental homes with laundry hook-ups and fenced-in yards will be more attractive to tenants and allow you to charge higher rent.
- Look for a home with three or more bedrooms, and over 1,500 square feet. Tenants who are looking for single-family rental homes are often doing so because they want more space than an apartment can provide.
- Find a home with good curb appeal, a standard layout, and away from busy intersections. Homes like this will appeal to more renters.
- Buy a house less than 15 years old. Newer homes typically require less maintenance, reducing the cost of your Atlanta property management services. If you buy an older home try to find one with a new roof and HVAC system as these cost the most to replace.
Finding the right rental property will give you a leg up in the market. For more information about buying a rental property, visit this post.
2 – Decrease Vacancy Days
Vacancies are one of the highest expenses facing property owners. Turning over a rental property costs $1,000-$5,000 after factoring in rekeying, professional carpet cleaning, repairs, and advertising. In addition, the longer your property sits vacant, the more you lose. If your property usually brings in $1,500 in rent you will lose $4,500 if the property sits empty for three months. How can you avoid long vacancies? Follow these steps:
- Be prepared: As soon as your old tenant moves out start on your checklist of turnover tasks. Schedule professionals for larger repair jobs as soon as possible. Make sure your home is rent ready before putting it back on the market.
- Take pictures: These days most tenants find their rental home online. Good pictures are a must, and should be posted as soon as the home is rent ready. We also recommend creating a video walk-through for tenants to view online.
- Advertise online: Top Atlanta property management companies advertise across dozens of websites so their rental homes get more exposure. If you are only advertising on Craigslist you will find it difficult to find great tenants quickly.
3 – Pick the Right Tenants
The best tenants always pay their rent on time, are not a nuisance to neighbors, and maintain your property with the same care as a homeowner. How do you find a tenant like this? Tenant selection is a tricky part of managing a rental property. You must find a tenant who qualifies and is a good fit for the home, while adhering to local and federal fair housing laws. Attracting the right tenants starts with picking a great property, pricing it correctly, and advertising across multiple websites. When potential tenants fill out an application, you need to determine whether or not they are a good fit. Federal housing laws state you cannot deny housing to potential tenants on the basis of race, religion, national origin, sex, family status, or disability. Determine whether or not a tenant qualified by looking at their credit history, rental history, income, and employment status. For more information on tenant selection and the Fair Housing Act, visit this post.
4 – Atlanta Property Management Services Include Cost-Effective Maintenance
Maintaining your rental property is a crucial factor in determining how successful your investment will be. If your tenant is constantly submitting maintenance requests, chances are they will look for another place to live as soon as their lease ends. Additionally, no tenant wants to live in a run-down house, so if your home is not properly maintained it will not attract new tenants. However, maintenance is expensive and time-consuming. Finding the right balance between maintaining your property and not breaking your budget is tricky. After nearly 30 years in property management, we can confirm that the most cost-effective way to maintain your home is through preventative maintenance. For example, you can pay $100 per year to have your HVAC system serviced. This simple maintenance means your HVAC system will last 25 years instead of 15, giving you an extra 10 years before you need to spend $10,000 to replace it. This example is true for most things around your home. A little bit of regular care will save you thousands of dollars in the long run, and help you rent out your home faster.
5 – Reduce Tenant Turnover With Effective Atlanta Property Management
As we pointed out above, tenant turnover and vacancy days can be the most expensive part of property management. While some tenant turnover is expected (no one stays in their rental home forever!), turnover can be reduced through good management. Running a successful rental property means creating a space where your tenants feel at home. Here is how you can reduce tenant turnover:
- Respect Their Privacy: It can be tempting to “drop-in” on your tenant every now and then. In fact, some first-time landlords think they are doing their tenants a favor by stopping in to see how they are doing. However, what seems helpful to a landlord feels intrusive to their tenant. Unless there is an outstanding maintenance need or you are checking in on a lease compliance issue, resist the urge to drop in on your tenant. Schedule quarterly inspections to check in and address routine maintenance. In between inspections respect boundaries and give your tenant privacy.
- Stay in Contact: Good communication is an important part of your Atlanta property management services. Make sure you have your tenant’s current contact information, and you know how they prefer to be contacted. Be clear in all your communication to avoid confusion and frustration.
- Respond Quickly: When your tenant has a question or maintenance request you should be quick to respond. Nothing is more frustrating to a tenant than a landlord who is difficult to get a hold of. If you miss a phone call from your tenant make sure you return the call within 24 hours. Provide an easy way for your tenants to contact you with maintenance requests and in emergencies. Specialized Property Management Atlanta offers a tenant portal where your tenant can go to submit maintenance requests and pay rent. In addition, we have a team working around the clock to make sure all emergencies are handled immediately.
- Set Clear Expectations: Your lease agreement should cover the house rules that apply to your property. A clear set of house rules will set you and your tenant up for a successful relationship. House rules include things like, how many pets a tenant can keep, who is responsible for lawn care, and how long a visitor can stay at the house. Review the house rules at lease signing to ensure your tenant knows them.
6 – Hire Professional Atlanta Property Management
If running a successful rental property sounds difficult, that is because it is! Even in a great rental market like Atlanta and the surrounding areas, plenty of property owners lose money or barely break even on their investment. In property management the learning curve is steep and the consequence for making a small mistake is big. One small argument with your tenant can snowball into property damage and an eviction.
That is why smart investors trust the experienced professionals at Specialized Property Management Atlanta. With nearly 30 years of experience managing single-family rental homes, we know how to avoid common mistakes that put your investment at risk. As a full-service property management company, we take care of every part of the rental cycle. From handling maintenance to communicating with your tenants, we have everything covered. All that is left is for you to sit back, relax, and enjoy your successful investment.
To learn more about Specialized Property Management Atlanta, including our full range of services, visit this page. Contact our specialized team today to request a professional rental management quote. Simply call 404-596-8454 to get started!