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How to Start a Rental Business

Have you always thought you’d be a great landlord? What are you waiting for? It’s not the easiest job in the world but, once you get a lot of experience, it can be very rewarding—financially and in other ways, too. If you’re good with people, friendly while not being a pushover, and have a good attention to detail, you’ll likely excel at this. If you’ve been thinking about it for a while and have decided now is the time, read on for tips on how to get a start in the rental business.

Learn the Ins and Outs of Real Estate

Your desire to be a landlord might already come from your knowledge in real estate but if you’re only slightly knowledgeable about it, it’s time to dive in. There are online classes you can take to become well versed in this area. Read the forums, sign up for newsletters, and ask for informational interviews from successful real estate professionals in your area. You should do this before or at least while you become a landlord so that you know the landlord-tenant laws (these can be tricky!), what you’re getting into, and so that you don’t get taken advantage of by malicious tenants.

Buy the Property

Of course, if you don’t own a property to rent, this will be the first step! And it’s important to pick the right property that will be appealing to tenants. This article by Investopedia covers a lot of what makes something good for renting, including the neighborhood it’s in, property taxes, schools, crime rate, job market, amenities, and more. Take your time in choosing, especially if this is the first time you’ve gotten in the real estate market. Once you’ve been doing this for a while, you’ll surely have a knack for it.

Discover What It Takes to Find Good Tenants

Your tenants are obviously your bread and butter and, if you get into a conversation with anyone who’s been a landlord for a while, you’ll know that having a bad one (or ones!) is pretty much a nightmare. That’s why it’s necessary to learn how to screen potential tenants very thoroughly. You’ll want to do a background check, a credit check, have them fill out a detailed application, talk to references, and get eviction reports for landlords through companies like TransUnion. It’s a time consuming process but you’ll be glad you didn’t skip a step. All of these things will uncover any red flags in the potential tenants’ history, such as a past that includes damaging rental properties, not being able to pay rent, past evictions, and more. You obviously want the financial picture to reveal a person who is stable, has a good job, and has shown that he or she can pay bills on time.

Assess Your Ability to Be On Call

When it comes to being a landlord, you can’t just rent it and forget it. This is the hard part, as you’ll inevitably have some minor (and possibly larger) fixes here and there. You need to make sure you’re available to take care of these things. If you don’t live in that area, you should really have someone who can do this for you. If you’re handy, that’s ideal, as you can take care of some of these things yourself. If not, you probably want to find some contractors and make them your best friend! The landlord/tenant relationship has to be mutually beneficial to go well, so you don’t want to be one of those landlords who can never be reached.

Make Sure to Regularly Inspect the Property

Again, if you’re not in the area, you’ll need to assign someone who can stop by to do this. You don’t want to go a year without checking out the property, only to find out that it’s been damaged nearly beyond repair. Make sure things are going smoothly for both you and for them. Address any issues before they become monumental problems.

Want to get started in the rental business? Follow these tips and you’ll be on your way to becoming a successful landlord in no time.


  1. Mary Ambrosino says

    All good advice.