You have decided to rent your house and become a landlord. But, you don't want to be just any landlord. You want to be a bad -- I mean really bad -- landlord.
Lucky for you, there are five easy steps for that. Let’s count them down Letterman style.
5 ways to be a terrible military landlord:5. Get started off right with the photos of your house you use to advertise it. No one wants to see your house now, they want the photos of when you first bought the house. You know, from 10 years ago before the 3 boys were born. You want to show the house at its best and that was the day you moved in. Potential tenants absolutely hate this, so you’re on the right track.
4. After you get someone to rent it, be sure to leave boxes of personal belongings at your rental property in the attic, garage and shed. Nothing irritates a tenant more than driving cross country with three kids, a dog and tank full of sea monkeys to find that they have to share the storage space with the landlord. Not a big deal, military families really don't have anything to store anyhow.
3. Another way you can earn the title of bad landlord is to ignore your tenant when the air conditioner breaks on a hot Georgia day in July. This is a sure fire way to get your tenants steaming, hot and angry with you. Take your time, there is no rush for a little problem like this. Does this even qualify as a problem?
2. Now, being a good landlord takes respectful compromise and great customer service, but why go to all that work when being a bad landlord is so easy? Simply show up unannounced one evening while your tenants have dinner guests to inspect the property. While you are there feel free to help yourself to a chicken wing and a beer.
1. The easiest and shortest way to earn the title of “bad landlord” is to collect your tenants rent but not pay the mortgage. The property will fall into foreclosure and your tenants will be forced out. It's rude, unethical and has a high probability of being illegal. If you are in financial dire straits why not invite an unsuspecting military family into the mess? But this plan can backfire, so be careful. After the bank forecloses, the tenants will be gone and you will lose your title of "bad landlord.” It’s a fine line to walk.
So maybe you’re thinking “but I want to be a GOOD landlord!” And you may have a point -- you would never want to be treated like this, so why treat others this way? A successful landlord follows the golden rule. But what does a good landlord look like?
5 ways to be a great landlord:5. Be sure to represent your house with the most recent photos and lots of them. Prospective tenants LOVE photos.
4. When you leave your home and turn it into a rental property it is now a business and should be treated as such. Do not leave any personal belongings at the rental, unless it's a garden hose or something useful to the tenant. No, used toilet plungers don’t count.
3. Be responsive and provide excellent customer service to your tenants. If there is a problem fix it quickly.
4. If you need to enter the home, be sure to give your tenant appropriate notice. Be flexible with their work or school schedule.
5. If your house is about to be foreclosed on communicate this to your tenants. Give them plenty of time to find a new place. Your problems should not become their problems too.
How can you tell the difference between a good landlord and a bad one? Simple, the bad landlord never checked out the Military Property Project! The Military Property Project was developed by two Army wives, Amy and Lauren. Through years of experience they mastered the art of being a good landlord and have kept the bad landlord trophy off their shelves. Visit them at www.militarypropertyproject.com.