If you’ve decided to invest in Healdsburg rental property in Windsor, North Santa Rosa, or Forestville – or if you’re going to rent out a home that you once lived in yourself, you’ve essentially become a landlord.
Do you know what that means?
More important, are you prepared to fulfill the role and all of its responsibilities?
Healdsburg Property Management has been leasing, managing, and maintaining homes throughout Sonoma County for years, and we want to share with you some of the things to expect when you become a landlord.
Relationships with Tenants
You’ll need the temperament, diplomacy, and professionalism required to work with your tenants.
Landlords will have a better and more successful rental experience when they establish a professional, respectful relationship with tenants. You’ll need to be communicative and available when they need you. Be approachable so they aren’t afraid to tell you if there’s maintenance that’s needed.
Work with your renters so that small disagreements don’t become huge disputes. Always make sure your tenants know what you expect from them so there aren’t any surprises on either end.
As a landlord, you’ll need to establish a respectful and cordial relationship with your tenants, but you don’t want to become too friendly. That could lead you to blurring some boundaries, which might make it difficult for you to enforce the lease agreement, collect rent on time, and hold your tenants accountable.
Good relationships will help you retain your tenants. When residents renew their lease agreements, you face lower vacancy and turnover costs.
Know the Sonoma County Rental Market and Rental Laws
If you’ve never rented out a home before, you’ll need to understand how homes are priced. The right rental value will ensure you find a qualified tenant quickly. You might have an idea about what you want to charge, but the actual rental price will depend largely on the market. Pay attention to what other homes similar to yours are renting for in your neighborhood.
Don’t overprice the home, otherwise tenants will not even bother seeing your property. Don’t underprice your property either, or you’ll end up losing money and you’ll also have a hard time bringing that rent up to market rates.
There are dozens of laws and requirements that will need your attention as a landlord in Wine Country, too. California is one of the most tenant-friendly states in which to own a rental property. You’ll need to understand rent control and whether it applies to your home. You’ll want to familiarize yourself with eviction laws and security deposit timelines.
It’s easy to make a mistake with fair housing and Section 8 and tenant screening. Those mistakes can be expensive.
Prepare and Budget for Maintenance
Landlords are often surprised at the cost of maintaining their rental property. If your home is in generally good condition, and you’re willing to invest in preventative maintenance, there shouldn’t be too many emergency repairs. Set aside some funds for potential repair issues though, and make sure you have a process in place so tenants can let you know when something is wrong.
You’ll need a great list of vendors who serve Sonoma County and who are licensed, insured, and affordable. Develop relationships with these professionals before you need them so you’re sure you can get a plumber or an HVAC technician over to your rental property quickly if the need arises.
These are just a few things you’ll need to prepare for once you become a rental property landlord. It can feel overwhelming, and that’s why professional property management in Sonoma County is such a good idea. With a good property management partner, you’re going to avoid mistakes, keep your costs under control, and have a more pleasant rental experience.
We can help. Healdsburg Property Management manages single-family homes, duplexes, four-plexes and multi-unit properties of up to seven units throughout Sonoma County’s Wine Country, including Healdsburg, Windsor, Northern Santa Rosa, Cloverdale and Forestville. Contact us to learn more.