If you have an investment property and are thinking about self-managing, there are many things you need to consider and take care of. Self-managing properties involves tasks that can be both time-consuming and tedious – but it doesn’t have to be.
Here are some tips to help guide you in your self-managing rental property journey.
1. Document checklist
When you are self-managing your property, you need access to standard agreements and documents including lease agreements and condition reports. It is important to keep good documentation and records in case there are any disputes with the tenant. In cases where you end up in a tribunal, documents and records can be used as evidence and help in determining whether the owner (i.e. you) have taken the appropriate measures and steps.
Some key documents are:
- Lease agreement
- Property condition report
- Bond application form
- Renting guide for tenants
These documents will vary state to state. In NSW, these forms can be found on the NSW Fair Trading website.
2. Finding a tenant
One of the main tasks in self-managing your rental property is finding a tenant.
The first step is to advertise your property and find a tenant. There are multiple ways to finding a tenant – from hiring a real estate agent to placing ads on websites. The main websites people think of to find a property for rent are websites like realestate.com.au and Domain. These websites are where you want to consider advertising as they have the most views and give you access to a bigger pool of potential tenants. These websites are generally restricted to property managers and real estate agents, though there are options for self-managers. For example, there are some businesses such as Rentdesk that can help you advertise on these websites for a small fee.
When looking for a tenant and advertising your property, there are a few things to consider:
- What price should you set for your rental property?
- How to take photos of my property?
- When should I hold inspections?
- Should I hold open or private inspections?
- Who should I rent to?
Once you have advertised, the next step is to select a tenant. There are certain things that you have to look into when you are choosing a good tenant. Here is a list of things that you need to do before finalising a deal with the tenant.
- Confirm their employment location and income
- Tenancy database checks
- Call their references and/or former landlords
- Conduct an interview with potential tenants
3. Start of tenancy checklist
Once you have found a tenant, there are a number of tasks that need to be completed. Here is a checklist of the main tasks to do at the start of every new tenancy:
- Provide a signed copy of the lease agreement to the tenant
- Complete and provide a signed copy of the property condition report to the tenant
- Bond has been lodged to the rental bond board
- Ensure the property is clean, safe and secure
- Provide a set of keys to the tenants
- Check if any maintenance is required on the appliances provided and other parts of the property
- Provide details of water rates if the tenant is paying
4. Rent collection
Collecting rent payments is one of the main tasks in managing a rental property. It is important to keep track and understand the rent collection process as your tenant may pay rent late or make multiple payments for a single rental period.
When self-managing, make sure you are on top of the rental payments you receive. You will also need to issue detailed receipts to the tenant for the rental payments you receive.
If you have issues with your tenant paying on time, it is recommended to provide written letters or emails to the tenants to remind them that the rent is due. Depending on your state, formal proceedings to late rental payments can start between day 10-14. Make sure you are familiar with the process and follow the process accordingly. Keep in mind not to harass the tenant. For NSW, information about rental payments can be found on the Fair Trading website.
5. Maintenance and repairs
During the course of the tenancy, you will need to conduct routine inspections. These inspections are generally every 6 to 12 months depending on your tenant. Prior to these inspections, you will need to provide your tenant with notification.
During these visits, this is your chance to check the property and see if there is any damage to the property, or if any maintenance or repairs need to be done. It is recommended that you take photos and videos during these inspections to document the condition of the property.
Apart from these inspections, the tenant may contact you in regards to any repairs or maintenance that may be required. Therefore it is useful to have contacts with tradespeople such as a plumber and electrician on hand that you can call if there are any repairs or emergencies.
There are many tasks involved with self-managing property. You will need to be on top of the processes and records. To help you with all these tasks, you can use a service like Rentdesk to help manage the different aspects of your property from collecting rent to keeping documents.