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Being a landlord is a challenging job, to say the least. 

From property management, to accounting and maintenance, you need to be on top of it all. 

If you are thinking about becoming a landlord, you might be feeling overwhelmed and are looking for some extra tips. 

For this post, we have gathered 8 expert landlords to tell us the one thing they’d do differently as beginners; so, stick around to learn important tips from these industry leaders!

What is the one thing you’d do differently?

As a landlord, you will encounter many challenges and make many mistakes, continue reading to see how these experts learned from their mistakes and grew their businesses. 

1. “Should you take on a partner?”- Tomas Satas- Founder and CEO at Windy City HomeBuyer

Tomas Satas headshot

Bio: Tomas Satas is the founder and CEO of  Windy City HomeBuyer. He is also a real estate investor and landlord. 

“When I first started investing in rental properties, I took on a partner. Overall it was a great experience. However, when I bought properties of my own, I saw how streamlined and efficient the decision-making process was,” says Tomas. 

When you have a business partner, the decision-making process is significantly slower, wasting a lot of precious time, according to Tomas. “I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with having a partner, and it provides an easier road into real estate investment for many people. However, the more people there are making decisions, the more meetings there are. It is nowhere near as efficient as having one decision maker.”

2. “Screen your tenants”-Nate Claire- Founder of Buying Jax Homes

Nate Claire Headshot

Bio: Nate Claire is the founder of Buying Jax Homes and a landlord with over 40 units. 

“One thing I would do differently is to screen my tenants more thoroughly. One of the biggest headaches as a landlord is having tenants who do not pay the rent or are causing problems at the residence,” says Nate. 

Nate explains that you can usually paint a clear picture of a tenant's behavior by doing the following: 

  • Ordering a background check
  • Calling employers
  • Speaking to previous landlords 

3. “Have a comprehensive and thorough lease agreement”- Larry Snider-VP of Operations of Casago Vacation Rentals

Bio: Larry Snider is the Vice President of Operations at Casago Vacation Rentals.

“Having detailed policies regarding tenant expectations, payments and other services outlined in the beginning helps to keep both parties informed from day one,” explains Larry. 

Having detailed policies also “sets clear boundaries and expectations between landlord and tenant, which can reduce potential misunderstandings,” also explains Larry. 

Laying everything out on the table with your tenant is a great way to do your part and form a productive relationship. 

4. “Hire a property manager”- Jon Sanborn- Co-founder of Brotherly Love Real Estate

Jon Sanborn headshot

Bio: Jon Sanborn is the co-founder of  Brotherly Love Real Estate in Philadelphia, PA, and has been investing in real estate for over 8 years.

“For any new landlord who is not invested in the property full-time, I'd recommend going with a property management company/manager,” says Jon.

Jon recommends hiring a property manager because they can work on your properties full-time, allowing you to shift your attention elsewhere. As a landlord with multiple properties, Jon can cater to the overall needs of his properties while a property manager takes care of the groundwork, making him a more efficient. 

5. “Learn how to accurately forecast rental cash flow”- Brian Davis- Founder of SparkRental.com

Bio: Brian Davis is a landlord and founder at SparkRental.com

“First and foremost, I'd learn how to accurately forecast rental cash flow. Failing to understand that before I bought my first dozen or so properties cost me a massive amount of money,” explains Brian. 

According to Brian, understanding the following expenses will help you avoid bad investments:

  • Vacancy rates
  • Repairs
  • Maintenance
  • Property management fees
  • Accounting costs
  • Marketing costs

6.“Focus on maintenance”- Andrew Lokenauth- Landlord and real estate investor with 15+ years of experience

Andrew Lokenauth headshot

Bio: Andrew Lokenauth is a landlord, a real estate investor with 15 years of experience, and a blogger at BeFluentInFinance.com.

“I wish I had taken a more proactive approach to property maintenance and repairs when they first started out,” says Andrew. 

Being proactive, according to Andrew, includes the following: 

  • Regularly inspecting the property
  • Addressing issues promptly
  • Keeping accurate records of all maintenance and repairs

By being proactive in terms of your property’s maintenance, you can ensure tenant satisfaction and catch minor issues before they turn into major ones or even emergencies. 

7. “Become educated on applicable law”- Leonard Ang- CEO of iPropertyManagement

Bio: Leonard Ang is the CEO of iPropertyManagement.

“As a landlord, the one thing I would definitely do differently starting out would be to educate myself on all the legal aspects of owning and operating rental properties,” explains Leonard. 

“This includes understanding local housing ordinances as well as developing an effective lease to protect my rights as a landlord. It also means becoming knowledgeable about tenant-landlord rights and responsibilities, including the basics of tenant screening for potential tenants. Had I taken this step earlier I could have avoided costly mistakes that could easily have been avoided” (Leonard Ang). 

By becoming well-versed in applicable laws and regulations pertaining to your business, you are able to make more informed decisions and avoid making legal errors, which can be costly. 

8. “Understand tenant needs”- Nick Mueller- Director of Operations at HawaiianIslands.com

Bio: Nick Mueller is the Director of Operations at HawaiianIslands.com.

“If I could do one thing differently as a landlord when I first started out, it would be understanding tenant needs better. Finding out what tenants need is a great way to create positive and long-lasting relationships,” says Nick. 

“With thoughtful decision-making and meaningful communication, effective and trustworthy relationships between landlords and tenants can be established right away,” explains Nick. 

Establishing a positive relationship with your tenants is essential to increasing their satisfaction, which helps your business grow as a landlord. 

Bottom line

In conclusion, as a new landlord, you will make countless inevitable mistakes. 

As these experts have proven, what truly matters is that you learn from your mistakes and grow with them. 

Now that you have this insider knowledge, you are ready to explore the world of rental property investment.

…but before you go, you should give property management software a shot. 

With DoorLoop in your corner, you will become a more efficient landlord, ready to take on the world, regardless of your portfolio’s size. 

Schedule a free demo today, and see what DoorLoop has to offer. 

Feel like learning more about real estate investment?

DoorLoop has a massive inventory of free resources for investors and landlords looking to maximize their rental game.

Here are a few resources:

Happy reading!

Ilia is a Content Creator and Copywriter at DoorLoop with a background in Real Estate and Law. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Florida International University with Bachelor's Degree in Political Science and International Relations.

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