By Cath Jenkin

Becoming a landlord isn’t just about buying a property to let

There’s so much more to becoming an effective landlord, and ensuring that your investment property pays off. Here are six essential character attributes you need to be an effective landlord:

Tenacity with a capital T

Finding the right investment property is just the start of your journey as a landlord. Being tenacious, however, is a character attribute you’ll need from long before you purchase your first buy to let property.

Once you’ve found your dream investment property, you’ll need to ensure that your process of purchase is strictly followed, and that may mean you’ll need to jump through a few hoops. Buying property isn’t the easiest task, but your tenacity pays off the second you get your house keys.

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Once you’ve made your big property purchase, and begin turning your attention towards renovations, improving security, and finding the right tenant, your tenacity needs to kick in again.

Ensuring all the required processes are followed, and your investment property is in the best possible shape, will pay off when you let out the property, or eventually move towards selling it.

Responsiveness and responsibilities

Once your property is looking good, and your tenant has moved in, it’s time to step up and stay responsive. As an effective landlord, you’ll need to be responsive when it comes to your tenant’s needs, particularly when there’s a fault or a problem relating to your property’s maintenance and upkeep.

But responsiveness begins long before you receive that emergency phone call about a burst geyser. Instead, get ahead of the curve by starting out organised. As always, once your tenant has taken occupation, you must:

Conduct a full property inspection, and create a defect list that lists every fault, problem, or concern about the property.

Be as pedantic and comprehensive as possible in this list, and make sure you and your tenant sign off on it. This list will be your reliable guide when it comes to the end of your tenant’s lease for your property, and will help you to determine what faults require your urgent attention, and what new faults may have appeared during your tenant’s time in your property.

Follow up on faults, and stay in contact with your tenant: This doesn’t mean you need to be popping over for tea every week, but keeping open channels of communication between you and your tenant is vital.

Stick to the rules: In terms of your lease, and relevant legislation, you do need to give your tenants sufficient notice if you need to pop in to check on any property faults, or take care of any concerns.

Finding the right filing system

Being organised isn’t just a skill; it’s a habit. You may have carefully crafted your lease agreement, kept pedantic records of your purchase, and ensured that all your financial filing is up to date – don’t stop now. Keeping accurate records of every purchase, bill, or piece of information relating to your property is important.

But, if organisational skills are not your favoured hobby, there’s always delegation. You can delegate most of the administrative and day-to-day requirements of being an effective landlord to a managing agent. If you’d prefer to use a managing agent who will take care of your tenant’s needs and ensure rent is paid timeously, we recommend you find one before falling behind in your filing.

Trusting an agent with your rental mandate is an important relationship, that will help you ensure your investment property is well taken care of. Make sure this relationship is watertight and that you sign a rental mandate contract too.

Communication is key

Being an effective landlord isn’t only about property; it’s about people too. You’ll have invested significant time and energy into finding the right tenant, working with renovators, and building a relationship with your managing agent.

Those people skills, where you negotiate the terms of a lease, or work with people to figure out solutions to problems related to your property, are critical. If you find you battle with your people or communication skills, don’t be shy to keep everything you possibly can, to a written format. This may make things easier when you need to follow up on problems, and can help you keep perspective on any concerns that may crop up.

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An interest in property

Of course, having an interest in property is essential for a landlord, but it’s not just the buying and selling that should interest you. Keeping up to date with property trends, and staying on track with new property innovations will help to be a more effective landlord, and an astute property buyer.

Grab your toolbox

This one’s less of a character attribute, and more of a skill. That’s a good thing, of course, because skills can be learnt! Having a nifty set of DIY skills or a knack for fixing little faults, can save you a bundle in maintenance costs.

Installing bookshelves, changing light bulbs, or painting the interior walls, are quick DIY jobs you can undertake as a landlord. Being handy with a hammer, or knowing how to change the washer in a tap, will help you to not spend money when you don’t need to, for the little tasks attached to caring for your rental property.

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Being an effective landlord means you’ll need to be ready to grab your toolbox when it’s needed! Of course, for the big jobs, you’ll need to call in the professionals. Don’t forget: always hire registered, qualified professionals to undertake maintenance work at your investment property.

For more advice on how you can become a more effective landlord, visit our Advice Centre.

This article was first published on www.privateproperty.co.za

Author: Private Property