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Effectively managing your apartments

An often overlooked side of owning investment property, is how to manage the property in the most efficient way. Simply throwing in any tenant and letting the property sit idle could eventually lead to major troubles. Although, some things take time to employ, in the long run they can make your life a lot easier. The following are a few tips to help your investment run a smoothly as possible:

  1. Screen tenants – Don’t rent to anyone before checking their credit history, references, background and previous landlords. Haphazard screening and tenant selection too often results in problems — a tenant who pays the rent late or not at all, trashes your place, or lets undesirable friends move in can cause you some major headaches.
  2. Get it in writing – Get all the important terms of the tenancy in writing. Beginning with the rental application and lease or rental agreement, be sure to document important facts of your relationship with your tenants — including when and how you handle tenant complaints and repair problems, notice you must give to enter a tenant’s apartment, and the like. Written leases enhance resale value, allow and help to make the property run more smoothly. Make sure tenants are aware of special clauses such as getting access to the unit for releasing prior to vacancy.
  3. Handle deposits properly – Establish a system of setting, collecting, holding, and returning security deposits. Inspect and document the condition of the rental unit before the tenant moves in, to avoid disputes over security deposits when the tenant moves out. Documenting the condition and taking pictures of each room and existing damage in the unit ensures legal justification for withholding the security deposit when the tenant vacates.
  4. Make repairs – Stay on top of maintenance and repair needs and make repairs when requested. If the property is not kept in good repair, you’ll alienate good tenants, and tenants may gain the right to withhold rent, repair the problem and deduct the cost from the rent, sue for injuries caused by defective conditions, and/or move out without needing to give notice.
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Matt Kastner

Matt Kastner is an Investment Real Estate Consultant at St. Louis Real Estate Society in St. Louis, Missouri. He is also develops properties on the side through Threshold Properties. When he isn’t representing investors in the purchase or sale of multifamily properties, rehabs, foreclosures and other income producing properties, he is often taking on rehab projects himself. He lives in South St. Louis and has been in the real estate business since 2004.

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2 thoughts on “Effectively managing your apartments”

  • Chris

    August 8, 2010 at 6:41 pm

    This is great advice. Especially the part about making repairs to your units. Another major part is getting your rental units thoroghly cleaned.

    Do you have a professional cleaning company for the houses you buy and sell?

    If not, you should see what Tabby Cleaning Services can offer you. We are a locally owned business specializing in residential and light commercial cleaning. We are fully insured and bonded. Flexible schedules are available and you can get cleaning service on the weekend. You can get a free estimate at http://tabbycleaning.com

    Tabby Cleaning Services – St Louis Cleaning Service

    Reply
  • 47 Real Estate Investment Blogs

    March 31, 2011 at 8:56 am

    […] Threshold STL: A blog post offers investors concrete ideas for managing their investment apartments. […]

    Reply

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