How to be a more organized landlord in a college town?

When it comes to ways people can build a financial empire, there’s often few better than investing in real estate. And for many landlords, college students make up the majority of their tenants. Whether a college is located within a large city or a rural area, there are many looking for off-campus housing year after year. However, since the majority of your tenants are going to be young and often away from home for the first time, there are sure to be a variety of obstacles you’ll encounter along the way. For many landlords in college towns, knowing how to become very organized in their day-to-day operations is crucial to avoiding many unnecessary headaches. If you’ve got college students as your tenants, here are some of the best ways to become a more organized landlord in your college town.

Streamline rent collections

Since students are going to classes as well as other activities, it can be very time-consuming trying to catch up with everyone to collect the rent each month. So rather than spend countless hours running all over town hoping to find someone at home, it’s often best to use electronic payment systems like Paypal or ACH systems, which allows you to withdraw money from your tenant’s bank account each month. Make it easy for them, and you make it easier for you.

Use a property management company

If you enjoy having rental properties, but don’t have the time or skills necessary to make repairs and deal with tons of paperwork, it may be a good idea to utilize the services of a property management company. Even though you’ll be spending money to hire the company’s services, you’ll probably save money in the long run. After all, a few bungled repairs may wind up costing you far more than partnering with an experienced company. When looking for a property management company make sure they have experience with similar properties, or similar areas or tenants. You can also look into training others as employees and giving them responsibilities you don’t have time to designate to. If you are outsourcing for the first time be sure you are ready with security and good interview questions to get the best on your side.

Have an organized office

While being a landlord for college students can be a tough job in itself, having an office that’s disorganized can make your job that much tougher. Since your office will likely be in your home, make sure you set aside one room to act solely as your rental office. Have a file for all your paperwork, and make sure everything is properly filed and easy to find. This can include rental contracts, tax forms, and other important information. By being organized, you’ll send a message to your tenants that you expect them to do the same.

Keep regular hours

Even under the best of circumstances, you’re bound to have tenants wanting to talk to you about various matters. While this is to be expected, that doesn’t mean they should be calling you at midnight hoping to get an extension on when the rent is due. It’s best to set regular office hours and stick to them. Many of the most organized landlords keep regular business hours of 9-5, which leaves them plenty of time to tend to their own business and still have time left over for leisure activities.

Stick to your policies

For many landlords, problems ensue when they create policies, only to bend the rules time and time again. By doing so, tenants will often take advantage of the situation, which leads to chaos for a landlord who can’t make up his or her mind. To avoid this, create policies that are fair to everyone, then stand firm when it comes time to enforce them. By doing so, you’ll not only make your life easier, but gain the respect of your tenants.

By understanding college students are still learning how to live in an adult world, you’ll quickly gain a reputation as a firm yet fair landlord that students will want to rent from year after year.

Eileen O’Shanassy

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