Three Tips For First Time Landlords

tips for first-time landlords

Owning and renting real estate is one of the best ways to create wealth.  If you’re just getting started in real estate investing, here are three tips for first-time landlords that will help make your real estate investment a success.

Great Tips For First-Time Landlords

First, always charge prospective tenants a small fee for processing their application to rent your property.

This is the most important of the three tips for first-time landlords.

Collecting a small fee serves two purposes.  First, it covers the actual cost of running a credit report, verifying the tenant’s income, and doing a background check.

But just as importantly, it weeds out prospective tenants who really aren’t serious about renting your property.

Experienced property managers will tell you that there are actually people who go around town pretending to be tenants and applying for property that they have no intention of renting.

Never Negotiate On The Rent

Negotiating on the long-term rent with a tenant almost always backfires on a new landlord.

That’s because if you give the tenant a reduced rent, they will come back for more . . . and more, and more.

This is the second most important of the tips for a first-time landlord.

Now, in order to not negotiate on the rent, the rent has to be based on comparable rentals in the area.  This means the landlord needs to survey the market and set a fair rate for their rental real estate.

Know The Landlord-Tenant Law

Some markets are landlord-friendly, and some are tenant-friendly.

Sometimes this varies by asset class as well.  In a given area the laws could be tenant-friendly for residential real estate, but decidedly landlord-friendly for commercial real estate.

Or there may be ways for tenants to break a lease that will catch you completely off guard.

As a first-time landlord it’s important to know the landlord-tenant law for both the market and the property class that you own, operate, and rent to tenants.

How To Sell A Rental House

sell a rental house

When the time comes to sell a rental house there are three important factors to keep in mind.

That’s because selling a rental house – or any other residential rental property – is quite a bit different from selling one that the owner used to live in.

Tips To Sell A Rental House

Here are a few things to keep in mind if you want to sell a rental house.

#1  The rental house shouldn’t look like a rental

Most houses for rent look pretty basic.  They have all white paint, basic window coverings and appliances, and very little landscaping.

All of those things are great if you own a rental house or property manage real estate.   They help to keep the routine maintenance costs down and minimize the things that can go wrong with the rental house.

Updating the paint colors, fixtures and appliances can help make the house you’re selling not look like the rental property that it once was.

#2  Consider staging the rental house

If you’re trying to sell a rental house it should be vacant and without tenants in it.  It’s always easier to sell a house that used to be a rental when there is nobody in it.  And without tenants, you can also hold an open house.

Once the paint colors and fixtures have been updated, consider staging the rental house for sale.  Proper home staging can highlight the best features of the house.

Staging a home will also make it easier for a buyer to picture your house becoming their home.

#3 Remember the HOA rules & regulations

Good landlords and property managers know that finding and keeping great tenants means there are no surprises.  The tenants know up front what the rules and regulations of the home owners’ association are.

When you’re selling a house that was a rental, always be sure to let the potential buyers know about the HOA rules & regulations.

Doing so will avoid any unpleasant surprises during the escrow, and will make it that much easier to sell a rental house.

Starting A Freelance Writing Business

starting a freelance writing business

If you’re thinking about starting a freelance writing business, of if you’re a prospective client curious to know how freelance writers work, then this article is for you.

Tips On Starting A Freelance Writing Business

CEO Blog Nation recently reached out to me, asking for my thoughts on the subject, and they were nice enough to publish what I had to say in their post 13 Entrepreneurs Share Advice On Starting A Side Business.

The main takeaway is that freelancers – and anybody who runs their own business – should think of themselves the same way that a company thinks of itself.

From birth we’re trained to do one thing and one thing only.  We go to school, obtain a degree specializing in a certain field, then go to work in that field.

That might be great for people who only want a 9-5 day job, but that approach simply doesn’t work for entrepreneurs and people starting a freelance writing business.

How To Think And Act Like A Company

This isn’t so much about incorporating yourself, having your clients sign freelance writing contracts, and collecting on bad debt.  Although all of those are important aspects of any freelance writing business.

Freelance writers should spend some time thinking about how to develop multiple revenue streams for themselves, just as a regular company does.  For example, Mercedes doesn’t just sell one car.  They sell multiple cars and they also design and build engines for other uses besides passenger vehicles.

Multiple Freelance Real Estate Writer Revenue Streams

Entrepreneurs thinking about starting a freelance writing business can use the same approach.

Here are three ways that freelance real estate writers in particular can make money with multiple revenue streams:

  1. Write real estate books and distribute them on multiple platforms, not just Amazon.
  2. Market your core business of freelance real estate writing through various offline and online venues, such as Upwork.
  3. Invest in real estate, even if it is just through a crowd funding site or by investing in a REIT.

Doing these three things will help you with your freelance writing craft, and also help demonstrate to prospective clients that you have first-hand experience with what you’re writing about.

Why Use An American Real Estate Writer?

american real estate writer

“Why should I use an American real estate writer?”

A potential – and now current – client of mine in Australia recently asked me this question as part of our mutual, two-way interview process.

The truth is that in her case I couldn’t answer the question because at that point I really didn’t know enough about her or her project.

She wasn’t trying to be adversarial.  On the contrary, she was being inquisitive.  But it did start me thinking about why somebody in another country would want an American real estate writer rather than a local copywriter.

I’ve written about real estate for clients in Canada, the U.S., Sweden, Saudi Arabia, Dubai, China, and yes, Australia.

Sometimes the project has involved writing for a foreign company wanting to introduce their clients to another country.  In one case it was a private REIT fund in Saudi Arabia wanting their investors to begin thinking about opportunities in the U.S.

In another case the real estate writing project involved writing for a company in one country whose investors were mainly from another part of the world.

Other times I’ve written real estate copy for use within a certain country, such as a green energy system in Sweden or a real estate attorney in Canada.

Reasons To Choose An American Real Estate Writer

My future client had asked a good question.

I thought about it for a while.  I realized that unless one is using slang words, writing about real estate isn’t really that different from one part of the world to the next.

True, the words may be slightly different to reflect the local language.  But buyers, sellers, investors, tenants, and managers of real estate are all looking for the same thing.

Sometimes it’s return on investment or appreciation, other times it is maximizing cash flow or finding & keeping good tenants, or maybe it’s all about moving from one real estate asset class to another.

Other times, the reason for choosing an American real estate writer is to get an American view point.

 

 

 

 

Where To Publish A Real Estate Book

publish a real estate book

When new writers decide to publish a real estate book their first stop is usually Amazon.  Unfortunately that’s usually their last stop as well, and in my experience that’s a big mistake.

Here’s why.

Books About Real Estate

Under the pen name Jeffrey Roark I’ve personally written, designed, created the covers, and published numerous books on real estate.

Titles include How To Find & Keep Great Tenants, Investment Real Estate Analysis: A Case Study, How To Make Money In Property Management, along with my very first book, The Real Estate Property Management Guide.

Trulia was even nice enough to mention one of my books in a recent blog post on their site.

If you read their post you’ll notice that they paid me an even greater compliment by linking to the book using one of their affiliate links.  This allows them to promote my book and make a little extra money for themselves in the process!

Where To Publish A Real Estate Book

Authors who publish a real estate book solely on Amazon KDP – aka Kindle Direct Publishing – are leaving out a major part of their potential market.

If you work in residential real estate, it would be sort of like listing a home for sale only on the MLS and ignoring other real estate listing websites such as Zillow or UpNest.

So in addition to Amazon KDP I also publish the electronic versions of my real estate ebooks using Draft2Digital.  This gives me access to numerous other book distribution sites such as Barnes & Noble, Apple, Kobo, Oyster, 24Symbols, and a few other sites.

The publishing process for Amazon and Draft2Digital is the same.  Simply write the text using a Word document, create a cover for your book, upload the information, and then publish your real estate ebook.

For the print versions of my books I used CreateSpace, although both Amazon KDP and Draft2Digital now offer an option of creating hard copies of your books without having to use a third site.

Smashwords is another option for ebook publishing that is worth taking a look at.

Increase Your Market Share

The more of your target market you can reach, the more buyers you will have and the more money you will make.  That’s a basic business axiom and applies as much to publishing your real estate book as it does to your real estate business or marketing your property management business.

Frequently there are months where I earn more from my real estate books sales through the distributors I reach using Draft2Digital than from the revenue I make from Amazon KDP.

As the saying goes, “Why leave money on the table?”.