My friend Kylie is a busy lady. Between a successful career and a growing family she barely has time for herself, let alone friends. So I was surprised and pleased the other day when she called to invite me for a coffee.
She and her husband Tom recently bought a second house as their first investment property. Now they are ready to see some return on their investment, so she came to me looking for some guidance for self managing their property.
“We’re ready to go, but we have no idea where to get started…”
The first thing for you and Tom to do before renting out your property is to get everything ready for tenants to move in. These maintenance chores are going to be simpler to do now while no one is living in the house. When you are ready to show tenants through, they will appreciate that everything is clean and well looked after.
“Sounds fair, so how do I go about finding tenants?”
The best place to advertise to find tenants is on realestate.com.au and Domain, because 86% of tenants go straight online to find a property these days and those two websites are the biggest. Only licensed real estate agents can advertise realestate.com.au, so you’ll need to use an agent or a 3rd party to get your property advertised.
Don’t forget a For Lease sign to put out the front. It may only get you a few extra leads from the local area, but it will help tenants from out of town find your place.
“When we’ve started advertising, what happens next?”
Once people see your ad and like the look of your house, they will be able to contact you. They may have a few questions that you can answer over the phone, but most will want to come and have a look inside. When you show them through, if they like what they see, give them a Tenant Application form to fill out.
Once you begin getting applications in hand you will want to start checking them out pretty quickly. This is mostly verification of the information. You should call all their references including the person they’re currently renting from and their employer, to help determine if they will pay the rent and look after the house.
“Is that all there is to it?”
Getting the right tenant is the hard part. If you have taken the time to ensure that you are renting to good people and your house is in good shape, you’ll save yourself the stress later on.
“After renting out your property, is there much more to do?”
Not really. Good tenants will have the attitude that the house is your property but it is their home.
You will have to keep an eye on the rent to make sure its being paid on time. This is usually no trouble, especially with responsible tenants, but its important you chase them up quickly if they miss a payment.
Every three to six months you should organise a time to walk through the house. You need to let the tenants know that you are coming and it will just take a few minutes. They will appreciate your attention and care. You’ll also have a chance to check if there are any outstanding repairs that need to be done.
You will not want to let repairs wait until you get to your inspection. Be sure your tenants have some maintenance request forms. These are good for record keeping and help you to organise repairs as soon as possible.
You can download Maintenance Request forms here