5 Novel Ways To Transform Into An Exceptional Landlord

Landlords are often portrayed negatively, with unnecessary demands and lack of empathy for their tenants.

While this may be true of some, it certainly doesn’t tell the whole story.

A little innovation and free thinking could propel you to the top of the landlord chain.

And where there’s a good landlord, good tenants are likely to follow.

Here are some novel ideas to help you transform into an exceptional landlord.

  • Customize the Lease – While a standard lease is readily available to cover basic elements such as security deposit, rent, and duration, you should only use it as a framework for preparing your own lease document that covers details related to your investment property. Yours may include any special rules with respect to furniture, sound limits, and pets. Set certain rules not just for the tenants, but also for yourself as the property owner, then follow them. Your lease should include details such as repair responsiveness and paying attention to tenant needs. By using as many details as possible, there will be no room for ambiguity − resulting in a much better tenant-landlord relationship.
  • Respect Privacy – Everybody wants to be treated with respect, especially when it comes to privacy. No tenant wants to a landlord who shows up at odd hours to inspect the property. As a landlord, you certainly have the right to conduct property inspections, but be sure to give your tenant advance notice and agree on a mutually beneficial time − not just one that is convenient for you. Remember, every business relationship needs mutual respect to function properly.
  • Open Communications – While you don’t want your tenant pestering you at all hours, you still need to offer an open communication line to address any problems quickly. Tenants feel more comfortable when they know that you’re easy to get in touch with. Give them your business number and include an email address. An email helps to reduce after-hour calls and records the written communication between you two. While some tenants can be annoying, most tenants won’t get in touch with you unless they have to. Make sure the tenant knows that you have heard the request and plan on addressing it − this will reduce any friction and distrust between you and the tenant.
  • Satisfy Your Side of the Contract – You expect your tenants to follow the rules, and you must, too. When you receive a call or email, listen to your tenant’s grievance and do your best to address it as quickly as possible. If a tenant brings up an issue with the building or burst pipe repair needs, make sure you tend to it as soon as you can. Remember that a good working relationship can only be sustained when both parties do their part.
  • Have Win-Win Negotiations – The aim of any negotiation is a win-win solution for both parties. The same applies when dealing with your tenants. For example, if a tenant finds the place too hot, offer to install an air conditioning system at a nominal rent increase. You could also offer to buy certain equipment, if the tenant is willing to pay for the installation. Negotiate a rental increase at the end of every lease term that benefits both you and the tenant, without being too heavy-handed in your expectations. These win-win tactics go a long way in building good relationships − making you a good landlord with good tenants.

While the business side of being a landlord is important, remember that small thoughtful gestures can also make a big impact.

A small gift on your tenant’s birthday or for the holidays will go a long way in developing a good relationship.

Happy tenants are likely to better care for your property and are a lot easier to deal with than disgruntled tenants.

Set the stage for a good landlord-tenant relationship at the beginning to assure tenants that their decision to move into your rental was the right one.

5 Mistakes Landlords Make With Incoming Tenants

Most property managers feel a huge weight lifted off of their shoulders when they begin to get calls from people interested in renting out a property.

The likelihood that an empty property will soon start generating money is enough to put a smile on anyone’s face.

Unfortunately, there are several mistakes that property managers make when bringing in new tenants.

These mistakes can potentially land you in hot water, so avoiding them is essential.

1. Not Making Disclosures to Tenants
Although laws may vary, each state has disclosure requirements related to incoming tenants.

These are rules about information that a landlord must disclose before renting out a unit.

For example, in horror movies, you have probably seen instances in which real estate agents disclosed recent deaths in a household; this is a real requirement in some states.

It’s important to note, though, that there will likely be other things that must be disclosed.

Laws about lead paint disclosure, for instance, are very common.

Additionally, landlords may have to disclose the presence of mold or even sex offenders that they know of who live in the area.

Knowing these state-specific laws is essential.

2. Mistakes in The Screening Process
There are a host of screening errors that can lead to less-than-satisfactory tenants moving in or even legal action being taken.

The Federal Fair Housing Act, for instance, prohibits property managers from asking certain questions that may be viewed as discriminatory.

Questions that seem to focus on familial status, religion, national origin, or other protected statuses could land you in court.

Landlords may also make mistakes when conducting screening related to background checks.

If you’re not careful, you could end up using an untrustworthy background check website that doesn’t discover all relevant information.

Fortunately, there is online property management software that can perform the appropriate background check with ease.

3. Not Correcting Potentially Dangerous Conditions
One potentially serious mistake is not correcting known hazardous conditions.

While it may seem like a hassle to fill in the hole the last tenant’s dog dug, fix the deadbolt while the lower lock still works, or provide sufficient outdoor lighting in a neighborhood with criminal activity, failing to fix any of these situations can land a property manager in court.

In most areas, landlords are required by law to create safe environments for their tenants.

If they fail to do so, they could be held responsible for damages.

In the end, it’s simply safer to correct all hazardous conditions before handing the keys over to a new tenant.

4. Rental Application Errors
Another common error when bringing in new tenants is related to rental applications.

Many landlords simply download the first application they come across on Google and continue using it forever. Unfortunately, these applications may be outdated, and in many cases, language contained in these “one-size-fits-all” applications may not even correlate with your state’s laws.

Additionally, creating your own application harbors the same potential dangers.

You run the risk of inputting language that simply cannot be upheld legally in your area.

Fortunately, many of the aforementioned property management software suites provide state-specific rental applications.

5. Letting Your Mouth Write The Checks
In an effort to quickly rent out a property in an improving economy, it becomes second nature to speak highly of a property and even make promises that certain improvements will be made.

Once these promises are made, though, it’s essential that you follow through.

Even if these promises aren’t in the lease, the incoming tenant can break the lease or take you to court for the value of the difference.

Without the promise directly written in the lease, there’s no guarantee that they’ll win, but the time and money expended dealing with this issue is hardly worth it.

Being a property manager is an undoubtedly difficult job, but the aforementioned mistakes can turn a tedious task into a nearly impossible one.

Fortunately, all of these mistakes are easily avoidable.

With just a few proactive measures and the right tools at your side, your mistakes with incoming tenants can become a thing of the past.

How To Seal Grout in Shower

Grout is naturally porous, which makes it a great addition to the shower.

The only problem is that if you leave the grout in your shower unsealed, that porous nature becomes a disadvantage.

Once mildew, mold, water minerals, and other contaminants get into the grout, it can be costly and time consuming to repair the issue. That’s why knowing how to seal grout in the shower is to your advantage.

You’ll want to seal the grout after it has dried when first installed and then every year afterward for the best results.

Here’s what you’re going to need to do.

1. Allow Your Grout To Completely Dry.

For new installations, it will take up to 72 hours for your grout to completely dry.

For a yearly sealant update, you’ll want to avoid using your shower for at least 24 hours for best results.

2. Make Sure Your Grout Is Clean.

You’ll need to scrub by hand every grout line in your shower to prepare it for the sealant.

Use clean water and a course scrubbing pad while wearing protective gloves for this process. Breathing protection may also be necessary.

Once every line has been scrubbed, use a clean cloth or sponge to wipe away the grout debris.

Then you’ll need to allow the grout in the shower to dry for up to 24 hours once again.

3. Prepare The Sealant.

Most sealants for shower grout need to be poured into an applicator bottle.

There may also be some elements which need to be mixed together.

Follow the preparation instructions on your preferred sealant, make sure your applicator or bottle is securely fastened, and then make sure your room has been properly ventilated.

4. Completely Saturate The Grout With The Sealant.

You’ll want to go down the center of each grout line and let the sealant completely saturate the surface.

It is common for some of the sealant to get onto your tile and other shower fixtures, so make sure you have some dry paper towels on hand to blot up the excess sealant which escapes from the grout.

Work in small sections around the shower, making sure to get every grout line, and allow the sealant to dry for 5-10 minutes or as indicated by the product.

5. Apply a Second Coat Of Sealant.

Once you’ve completed each grout line in your shower, removed extra sealant, and allowed it to dry properly, then you’ll need to repeat the process.

Every grout line will need to receive a second coat.

Work in small sections once again, removing any extra sealant that gets onto your tile, as you cover the entire shower.

6. Hazy Tiles Indicate There Is Still Sealant On Them.

As you begin cleaning up your tiles as the second coat begins to cure, you’ll notice that some seem to have a hazy appearance on them.

This is an indication that you have removed all of the excess sealant on that tile.

Using a dry paper towel, work in a circular motion to clean the tile, being careful near the edges to not disrupt the curing sealant.

7. You Can Keep Adding More Layers Of Grout Seal If Needed.

If you’re concerned that two coats of sealant are not enough to give your shower grout an adequate level of protection, then you can place 1 or several more after each coat has properly dried.

You’ll know that you have enough sealant on your grout when water beads on the surface instead of being absorbed by the grout.

8. Allow The Final Coat To Properly Cure.

Follow the instructions on your preferred sealant as to the length of time it needs to cure.

Do not use the shower for this period of time. A humid environment may also affect the integrity of the curing process, so avoid having a steamy bath while the grout sealant is drying to achieve the best results possible.

Solvent-based sealants tend to last longer, but water-based sealants are generally safer to apply, especially in confined environments.

If the tiles aren’t getting clean with dry rubbing, you can use a damp cloth on them.

Just be careful not to place a wet cloth on drying sealant as this will affect the integrity of the curing process.

Knowing how to seal grout in the shower will help you maintain a healthy environment that can withstand the rigors of high moisture levels.

If you don’t know when the last time your shower grout was sealed, then follow these steps today to preserve your bathroom.