Deciding to own and rent real estate is an enormous choice.
- You’ll need to learn how to manage a business from the ground up.
- You’ll need to develop relationships with renters and professionals.
- Is this the right decision for you?
Instead of having to begin this journey alone, working with a Maryland property management team can reduce some of the frustrations and concerns associated with becoming a Baltimore rental property owner. Even just knowing how to be successful can give you some peace of mind.
Our Rent Estate™ Advisors are always here to support you! We encourage you to work with our team and ask any questions you might have, whether you're a new investor or a seasoned property owner. With that in mind, here are some general insights we think it's crucial for every property owner to know when they decide to dive into the Baltimore rental market.
Keep Things Fair, Impartial, and Professional
Creating the right type of relationship with your renters is critical—and it’s often overlooked. You want to know them and be able to hold a good conversation with them. At the same time, you don’t want to stray too far from professionalism and a working relationship.
No matter how well you get along, your renter isn’t your friend. Allowing it to get to that point puts you at risk of being unable to enforce your lease agreement when something goes awry. It also makes it that much harder to stay impartial when it comes to things like how you respond to maintenance and repairs.
Instead, keep things professional—especially if you have more than one renter.
- Don’t spend time with your renters outside of a formal relationship.
- It's also critical to keep your working relationship with your renters positive, even if you aren't officially 'friends.'
- Your residents shouldn’t fear seeing your car pull in if you respond personally to a maintenance request: stay approachable while keeping things professional.
Don’t Use a Prefab Lease From the Internet
One of the most common mistakes is using a prefabricated lease you found on a random website. You may be lucky and stumble upon a decent one, but chances are good that it is not designed for your Maryland's laws and local rules in the Baltimore area. Instead, have a lease agreement created specifically for your rental homes in the Baltimore rental market!
If you choose not to work with an exceptional Maryland property management company like Renters Warehouse, hire an attorney to create a lease for you. By far, this is one of the most important steps to ensuring legal protections for you in the years to come. If you do rely on full-service property management, our legal team can create air-tight lease agreements for you.
Get the Right Price on Rental Your Property Now
Whether you are just buying a rental property or you already own one, whether your real estate investments are single-family homes or multi-family units, having an accurate, competitive price on your property is essential.
Too high, and you will not attract renters. Too low, and you’ll lose profit potential. Finding the sweet spot (or as we call it, the 'bullseye price') in rental pricing isn’t easy, though. That’s another reason to work with our team! Setting prices is critical but often hard to do. We perform a competitive rental price analysis to determine your property's price point based on competition, conditions, features, and location.
- Some property owners make the decision to price their condo, townhome, duplex, rowhome, or detached single-family home based on what they see others listed for in the area right now. That’s not always fair to do: your property may be larger or have more desirable features!
- A lower price does not always bring in a high-quality renter. Good renters expect to pay what’s fair for the property—and a 'too low' price point could push them in the wrong direction.
Screen Your Renters Thoroughly
If you’re working with our Rent Estate™ Advisors, then the tenant screening process is easy (technically, the whole process is easy since we handle marketing and tenant placement for you!).
However, if you’re doing this on your own, it’s essential to get the right information about your future renters legally. There’s always the risk of sensitive information being mishandled by a solo property owner, leading to claims of housing discrimination. That’s not what you ever want to have to deal with during your screening process as a beginner!
- Rather, your tenant screening process should provide you with a way to learn about your prospective renter.
- That includes whether they have a reliable job, who will live in the home, and what type of credit history they have.
- With this information, you can feel good about making decisions for who will live in your property.
What information should you gather about a prospective renter?
- Do they make enough to afford your rental property?
- Do they have steady employment that you can verify?
- Do they have a good or acceptable credit report?
- Do they have a clean eviction report?
- Can they provide a list of references you can check?
There are other questions to ask yourself as a property owner, as well.
- Do you want to allow pets into your rental property?
- Is your Baltimore rental home smoking or non-smoking?
Having a good conversation with these prospective renters and defining your own expectations in the lease and during the application process is the best way to remain within the law. Run your application and your own property considerations by your attorney or Maryland property management firm first to confirm you aren't overstepping your boundaries.
You May Be Overwhelmed, but It Doesn’t Have to Be Complex!
Full-service property management is just a phone call or email away! At Renters Warehouse BW Metro, we’re always here for you. You never have to worry about being overwhelmed by the demands of a rental property: we've got your back!
As always, a great place to get started as a property owner is by browsing our other blog articles and our free resources. You know that the correct care and maintenance of your rental property is part of what boosts your rental price—so why not get started with our FREE Seasonal Maintenance Checklist?
It's got all the information you need to keep your rental property hopping with great curb appeal—no matter the time of year!