Being a landlord can be tough. It's not a profession that you can simply kick back and watch the income flow in at all points. There will be good times and there will be times when you want to pull your hair out, but doing the proper research in the beginning and understanding what goes into being a landlord before you even buy a property is very helpful. Talk to people that have been in the business for years, research property management companies (even if you don't plan to hire one, you can pick up tips on what you should be doing to manage the property), and read articles and blogs on a variety of issues to get a well rounded view of your new profession.
One of the key things that you'll need to remember is that this is a profession, not a hobby. If you think it is a hobby that you can partake in when you feel like it or when you'd like to make a little extra money, you might want to look at a different hobby. Research, marketing, screening, and managing will take up quite a bit of time. Don't fool yourself into thinking that you can ignore a problem if you simply don't feel like you have enough time. Small problems have a tendency to turn into big, expensive problems if not dealt with quickly. That leaky sink? Well, if it's dripping, it might annoy the tenant, but if the leak becomes a steady stream, it can do some real damage if it overflows onto the floor and to the walls.
Hiring a property manager may be something that you'll want to look into, depending on how involved that you'd like to be. Doing this can help ease some of the stress, but you can't simply hire the first one that comes along. Research must be done and interviews conducted. You'll want to know how they handle certain problems, what their process is for collecting rent, and if they specialize in a specific type of property management. All this and more is important when you decide to hire someone to look over your property for you. Remember, if they break the law by discriminating or anything like that, you'll be held responsible.
Being a landlord really does come down to being prepared. You can't prepare for every scenario 100% of the time, of course, but you never want to stop learning and exploring new options on how to make your craft better, just as you would any other job.
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