Thinking of becoming a landlord?

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Realty Dallas Fort Worth 214-552-2091 TX License# 0581538

4 Things to Consider Before Becoming a Landlord

When considering whether or not to buy investment property, searching
 for good advice can lead to even more frustration. After all, there is a
 lot more to consider than the simple messages you find on many
websites, like: "Home prices are at rock bottom and interest rates are
at historic lows!"

Your best bet, when considering whether or not to become a landlord,
is to solicit the advice of your financial advisor and your real estate

Let's take a look at some of the research you'll need to perform in
order to determine whether you are a good candidate for becoming a
landlord. You'll also want to decide whether this is the right time to
pull the trigger on purchasing an investment home.

Vacancy Rates

Unless you are using an FHA-backed loan to purchase a condo, you'll
never consider vacancy rates when purchasing a residence in which you
intend to live. When purchasing rental property, on the other hand,
those numbers are critical.

One of the first questions to ask yourself is whether or not you are
financially able to pay the house payments when the house sits vacant.
Savvy landlords build an emergency fund that they'll tap under these
circumstances. Without such a fund, will you be able to cover the
payments until you find a tenant?

In October of 2013, for instance, the nation's apartment vacancy rate
 was the lowest it had been in more than a decade, according to a
Reuters news report. This is akin to a seller's market in the
residential real estate market – a great time for landlords, with lots
of renters in the marketplace. Additionally, when demand for rentals is
high and the supply of rentals is low, rents tend to rise.

Because all real estate is local, don't rely on national statistics.
This is where a good real estate agent comes in handy. Ask yours to
check the vacancy rates for the local market – both current and

The past and current market, however, should never be the sole
yardsticks used to measure whether you should get into the landlord
business. Check the new construction plans for the area. A surge in new
rentals will lift the vacancy rate and slow down the rise in rents.

Laws and Protecting Yourself

Landlords have certain duties, outlined by both federal and state
law, including fair housing laws and how to handle rents and deposits.
Bone up on your responsibilities and liabilities before agreeing to
purchase a rental property. Your attorney can help you with this.

Once you understand this aspect of being a landlord, you'll need to
ensure that you understand the lease paperwork. Leases aren't worth the
paper they're written on if they disallow you from litigating against a
tenant that violates the terms. Again, this is something your attorney
can assist with.

Even armed with maximum information, something may go wrong. Talk to
an insurance agent before purchasing income property to determine how
much insurance you'll need and how much you can expect to pay.

Tax Ramifications

While you'll be taxed on rental income, associated expenses can be deducted on your return.

Deductions are defined as "the ordinary and necessary expenses to
manage, conserve, and maintain your property," according to the tax
experts at Jackson Hewitt. Deductible expenses include, but aren't
limited to:
  • Cleaning equipment and supplies.
  • Advertising costs.
  • Real estate taxes.
  • Insurance costs.
  • Mortgage interest paid.
  • Payments made to maintain the property, such as for lawn service, pest control and trash pickup.
  • Property management fees.

There are many other deductions - and information about deductible losses -- that your tax professional can alert you to.

It's a Labor-Intensive Job

If you don't hire a property manager, being a landlord may take a
huge chunk of your time. In fact, many landlords that have gone the
self-management route eventually give up, claiming it is a full-time

Consider some of the duties you will potentially have to perform:
  • Dealing with deadbeat tenants, chasing down payments and fielding complaints from neighbors.
  • Dealing with evictions.
  • Taking emergency maintenance phone calls at all hours of the day and night.
  • Rounding up the appropriate tradespeople to perform repairs and maintenance.
Becoming a landlord requires a lot more than buying a house and
advertising it for rent, especially if you hope to turn a profit. Work
closely with your financial advisor and your real estate agent, and
consider all the ramifications.

Thinking of Becoming A Landlord

It's an important part of your strategy to align yourself with an experienced real estate broker that can help you manage your properties.  Starting with BUYING YOUR RENTAL PROPERTY we can guide you on buying strategy and financing options.  By partnering with a seasoned real estate professional you can work to maximize your rental income by minimizing your vacancies.  We have worked to develop a streamlined process to teach you how to manage your own properties.  To find out more about how we can help you accomplish that call us. 

Wondering what your home is REALLY worth in Today's market? 

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Joe Jackson
Keller Williams Capital Partners Realty - Columbus, OH
Clintonville and Central Ohio Real Estate Expert

Thanks Raymond for a comprehensive view of what it takes to be a landlord. There are many things to consider before taking that step. Have a good day.

Jun 23, 2014 11:26 PM #1
Rob Marken
Bend River Realty - Bend, OR
25+ years experience in Bend

Great points to think about when considering becoming a landlord.  Many times people don't think about vacancy rates, but they are so important.  Here is Bend our vacancy rate is less than 1%, it is a great time to be a landlord in Bend, but a few years back this really wasn't the case. Thanks for sharing this great info about thinking about purchasing a rental. 

Jun 24, 2014 01:26 AM #2
Suzanne De Vita
Online Associate Editor

Ray, this is so important. A lot of people jump on the bandwagon without considering risks. Thanks for this post!

Jul 02, 2014 03:50 AM #3
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Raymond Edler

#1 Real Estate Office in DFW
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