Originally by Karina Gafford. Updated 2018.
Whether you find yourself an "accidental landlord" due to military orders or you've purchased a property with the intent of renting it out, there are a few things you should know before you ask your first tenants to sign on the dotted line!
8 Lessons for a First-Time Landlord
Lesson 1: Always screen your tenants.
Lesson 2: Keep your finances organized.
Lesson 3: Understand both yours and your tenant's insurance responsibilities.
Lesson 4: Be careful when working with family.
Even if you have a verbal agreement with family for them to pay rent on a monthly basis, you may find yourself with a couple of problems. One, if your family member tenant refuses to pay rent, you don’t have anything in writing holding them to that amount. In the case of an eviction, a judge may side with your family member, particularly if he was paying rent in cash with no paper trail to corroborate your side of the story. If you do pursue eviction, depending on the state in which you reside, it may take months before you have your home returned.
Lesson 5: Watch out for lowball offers.
Lesson 6: Know your price point.
Lesson 7: Require regular property inspections.
Lesson 8: Know your legal rights…and your tenant’s.