If you’re looking for a predictable job, there are plenty of career paths to choose from. Landlording isn’t one of them. It requires you to be on your toes – ready to face anything at any moment. To some, this is terrifying. To others, it’s an exciting opportunity that promises to keep things interesting. But one thing is clear: You need to be prepared for whatever comes your way!
Stay Prepared With These 9 Items
As a landlord, you’re part real estate investor, part money collector, part handyman, and part enforcer. At any given moment, you have to be prepared to take off one of these hats and put on another. This means staying stocked with the following items:
1. Basic Tools
Even if you aren’t a super handy person, there are certain tools you need to keep in your car or truck at all times. In many cases, having a simple tool on hand can save you from having to call in a professional (which will cost you a pretty penny).
Some examples of basic tools you’ll need on hand include: hammer, screwdrivers, tape measure, power drill with various bits, utility knife, chisels, pry bar, various pliers, scissors, and a digital multimeter. If you’re comfortable with power tools and are capable of doing different odd jobs, it may also be helpful to have a battery-powered reciprocating saw and multi-tool.
2. Basic Maintenance Supplies
In addition to the aforementioned tools, there are certain maintenance supplies that you’ll frequently need. You’ll make your life a whole lot easier if you have them on hand and don’t have to drive out of your way to drop by the hardware store.
These supplies include: touchup paint, brushes, drop cloths, sandpaper, putty, putty knife, an assortment of nails, screws, and fasteners, wood glue, epoxy, caulk, electrical tape, duct tape, plumbing tape, pipe dope, plumber’s putty, paint scraper, spackling compound, and other items that are small and frequently required for odd jobs.
3. Cleaning Supplies
Cleaning can be a headache, but there are situations in which you’ll have to clean up a mess that a tenant has left behind. Having a cleaning bucket on hand will save you a lot of time and trouble.
Some of the items to keep stocked: mop and bucket, vacuum cleaner, spray bottle with generic cleaner, rags and sponges, paper towels, trash bags, squeegee, bleach, dish soap, scouring pad, and magic erasers.
4. Spare Keys and Bolt Cutters
It’s a good policy to limit the number of keys you give out to tenants. This limits the chances of things like subletting, criminal activity, and irresponsible behavior. However, you should always keep a spare key on hand for every property. This will save you a lot of time when a tenant loses a key or gets locked out of the house.
On a related note, it’s also nice to have a lock-pick set and pair of bolt cutters in your vehicle. Should a tenant abandon your property or change the locks without telling you, this gives you a way of getting into your property.
5. Notice Forms
As a landlord, you’ll find yourself in situations where you need to communicate something to a tenant in written form. While you can always head to your computer and type something out, it’s much easier if you already have commonly used notices on hand. You can then fill in the blanks with specific details and hand them out.
Notice forms are particularly important when you own a multi-unit development where there are things like fire drills, building repair work, or planned maintenance where workers need access to the residences.
6. Lease Agreement
It’s always a good idea to have a copy of your lease agreements with tenants. You don’t necessarily need to have these printed out – a digital copy will suffice. But whatever you do, be sure you can point to specific clauses and language if you need to back up something you’re saying with legally enforceable language.
With smartphones being so ubiquitous, this typically goes without saying, but you need to have a camera on you at all hands. This allows you to snap pictures or video of something you see on one of your properties – such as damage, trespassing, or a clear violation of the lease agreement. A camera can also be useful if you need to send pictures of a maintenance issue to a handyman or contractor before he comes to the site.
8. Important Numbers on Speed Dial
With all of the right tools on hand, you can tackle almost any project that aligns with your skillset. Having said that, you don’t always have the time or desire to take care of something. In these cases, it’s nice to have the right people on speed dial.
There are certain numbers you’ll always want to have plugged into your phone. These include an accountant, attorney, handyman, locksmith, real estate agent, investment advisor, and mentor.
9. Healthy Dose of Patience
For the most part, we’ve discussed physical items that you need to have in your possession. However, there’s also something to be said for possessing the right intangibles.
If you’re going to be a successful landlord for any period of time, you need to cultivate a healthy dose of patience. You’ll regularly encounter frustrating situations, and a patient approach will serve you well in these moments.
Let Green Residential Help
You shouldn’t have to wear so many hats at one time. While there’s a time and place for directly intervening and addressing issues as they relate to your properties and business, there’s no need to be on the clock 24/7. And that’s where we come in.
At Green Residential, we offer Houston landlords professional property management services that remove some of the friction, burdens, and pressures that come with owning rental real estate. From tenant screening and rent collection to property maintenance and accounting, we can handle it all. Contact us today for a free property management analysis!