So You Want to Be a (Better) Landlord?
Town and city living that used to be affordable has gone the way of gentrification and urbanization in many north shore and metro areas. How can landlords save the local communities and ensure a better rental economy?
The rental industry’s booms and busts can level a town or city for years which can wreck the local economies. This strangles the main streets for an unlimited amount of seasons in terms of year-round locals who depend upon the infrastructure of the very place they live. If working families are going to be displaced because of rent that is just out of reach, then they’re not going to move back to save the industry that abandoned them in the first place. By the time that healthy couple moves three cities over because they can’t afford your rental, you might end up having indefinite vacancies because the trend will punish that neighborhood and eventually the ward or district. Things may bounce back, but you inadvertently got rid of the very tenants who were making you the right amount of money.
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Working families with children and good credit scores are always the best tenants–they will attract better families and tenants to the neighborhood, and even-out the overturn of college-age and post-college young professionals. Professionals who have families, however, offer stability to any market, and much slower movement and may even want to buy the property at the same time you’re thinking of selling.
Families without relatives in the area, still own timeshare properties, vacation often, or are beyond a healthy ratio of income to expenses are too risky. A family without two breadwinners, or one that ebbs and flows financially may need to learn how to get out of a timeshare before committing to a long term rental agreement. If you can find the best family, however, and rent to them slightly under market value, you might just have a ten-year tenant who will help your other properties during down times.
Rent out with the community in mind
As a landlord or superintendent, you want the best for your rental area in terms of government, business, and schools. Your actions can have decades-long influence on a town in ways that you might not even predict. The most requested wish by any tenant in any city is always affordable housing, from the older resident to the young workers just starting out. By providing affordable housing and locked-in rental agreements, you can provide stability for families and your profit. Also buying up cheap land properties from the government can provide later well-needed (and soft) profits when the town has its boom and needs places for community gardens, smaller schools, commercial stand-alone or drive thru franchises, or a lot sustainability-themed structures.
Renting properties with utilities included will also draw a tenant-base where you can increase the rent incrementally while renegotiating the utilities on your own, including cost-effective and energy-efficient possibilities (especially as we move into better “Green” options like solar panels that allow you to sell energy back to the grid).
Remember that short-term profit isn’t always best, especially in the housing market. A landlord who has a healthy relationship with the tenants and has more than income in mind can change the community for decades to come.