Whether you’re renting out a room in your apartment or purchasing a new property to generate rental income, there’s a bit of planning involved. Most people rent property for one reason — to make money. Whether you’re simply trying to reduce the burden of your basic living expenses or working toward financial independence, the process is basically the same. As long as you understand these four important concepts, anyone can learn to become a landlord.
1. The Rental Values in Your Area
Most people tend to overvalue their property a little bit. After all, it’s your home, and you’ve either spent a lot of time and money maintaining it, or at least a lot of time picking out the perfect investment property. We all want to maximize our return on these investments, but this will be challenging if your property is not priced appropriately. Do some research on local classified sites and see what comparable properties are renting for. Account for things like size, location, and upkeep. If you need help, you can follow a guide to pricing your rental.
2. Your Tax Obligations
Don’t forget that you’ll be responsible to pay more than just the mortgage. You’ll need to pay income tax on the rental income you generate, and you’ll also be responsible for property tax on the real estate you own. These taxes can seem frustrating, but remember that this is how the city pays for its infrastructure. Spend some time so that you understand how property taxes work. This will help you maintain a clear idea of what your financial obligations are.
3. Your Net Operating Income
How much money do you actually have coming in every month? This is a question you’ll need to be able to answer in order to make positive business decisions. To put it simply, NOI is essentially all of the money you’ve collected in rental revenue, minus all of the direct operating expenses that were incurred in generating the income. Examples of operating expenses would be management fees, maintenance expenses, and property taxes.
This is an important figure to have in mind because it is used by real estate investors all over the country. If you’re purchasing an investment property from someone, or even planning on selling your property in the future, NOI will be one of the most important figures used in determining profitability. This can seem a bit complicated at first, but after doing a quick Google search, you’ll see it is often explained in much more detail on a number of property management blogs.
4. Tenants’ Rights in Your Area
Every state has slightly different rules about what is or is not allowed. Some states don’t allow you to charge a damage deposit at all, while others have a limit on how much of a damage deposit is required. If you were planning on renting out a freshly renovated home, or a fully furnished apartment, you might not want to do so without a little bit of collateral that can help protect your investment. Even if you only charge half a month’s rent as a damage deposit, the incentive of getting that money back is enough to help keep most tenants mindful of caring for your home.
Another important aspect of tenants’ rights are the factors that would allow a tenant to break or terminate a lease. If you live in a state that allows tenants to come and go with relatively little notice, you’ll want a property that is easy for you to rent out. Meanwhile, if you live in a state that requires tenants to give reasonable notice, you’ll have time to find a new tenant if your current one decides to leave.
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