Starting your rental business: Build your team

red and three blue jigsaw puzzles

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Even if you plan on being a one-person business (as I consider myself), you still need a team.  There are for things that you either can’t do on your own, or shouldn’t!  Mistakes can be costly and time consuming.   Having a list of professionals will provide a more solid foundation for your business.

The first person you’ll likely need is a realtor who is knowledgeable about your target market.  If you are interested in single-family homes, find a realtor who understands the market for both buying homes and the state of the rental market for those same properties.  Not only do you want to purchase the right property at the right price, but you also need to know that the rent you expect to collect will cover the mortgage and expenses (and hopefully bring in cash flow).

You also might choose to have a realtor help you rent out the property, or at least help with the paperwork.

Have a good mortgage broker ready.  Ideally get pre-qualified, so that you have an idea what type of property you can afford, and avoid unpleasant surprises or delays when you find that perfect property!

You will need help figuring out what type of business structure is best for you.  And help filing appropriate paperwork.  This will involve both a lawyer and a tax accountant.  Someone helping you with your taxes will also help guarantee that you aren’t missing any tax breaks.  This can get complicated!

You’ll need an insurance agent, one that will work with you to cover the property as a rental, knowing those specific rules and regulations.

I’ll cover the above topics in greater detail in future posts.  Other people that you may need once you have the property include:

  • Landscaper to work on the lawn and trees.  This includes someone who can mow the lawn in-between renters
  • Locksmith
  • Painter
  • Handyman
  • Electrician
  • Plumber
  • Appliance repair company
  • Sprinkler repairman
  • Garage door repairman
  • Carpet cleaner
  • Roofer
  • Exterminator
  • A pool repairman and a pool cleaner

Alternately, you could choose a property manager.  I have used two property managers in the past.  One was wonderful and reliable, and had her own people to take care of any problem that came up.  The second (in case you’re wondering, this was a different area and I couldn’t use the first manager) came recommended but was a disaster.  Didn’t take care of anything but depositing the checks.  Get lots of recommendations and interview thoroughly if you’re going this route.

Start gathering recommendations right away, as good, reliable people are hard to find.  Ask friends and family for recommendations, and read reviews online.  Pay attention to who is recommended, who isn’t, and why.  Some of these people may not be needed for some time, but have your list complete and ready anyway.  Life is full of surprises, and you don’t want to be, for example, waiting in line for your flight to take you away to your well-deserved vacation, only to get a call that a pipe is leaking into a tenant’s bedroom, the floor is soaked, and the ceiling may collapse soon.   True story, and not the only example that I could have given you.

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