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Renting out a property can be profitable, but there are a number of potential issues to watch out for, including tenant troubles, property maintenance issues, vacancy costs, or even a failure to reach your overall investing goals.

In order to avoid problems, owners should be mindful of the things that can affect the rental value of their property—or their long-term peace of mind when it comes to a tenant. Below, 13 members of Forbes Real Estate Council share some of the most crucial elements that owners or property managers should focus on when renting out a home, as well as why those elements are so important. Here’s what they said:

1. Tenant Reference And Employment Checks

This should go without saying, however, too many landlords meet prospective tenants in person and trust them because they are nice and affable people. Unfortunately, not everyone has the best track record with their previous landlords and a lot of future pain can be saved by both asking for references and actually calling the previous landlords. – Colin Bogar, Property Passbook

2. Systems Failing And Things Breaking

Have a plan before things break and systems fail. Build relationships with plumbers, electricians, handymen, etc., creating a strong network of vendors that you can trust. Empower your tenants to get immediate help by having a list of approved vendors in a book you can leave at the property. If you manage multiple properties, you can use this as leverage with the vendors to secure better rates. – Katie Brown, Downtown Katie Brown, Realtor

3. Eviction Rights

Don’t rent to anyone you can’t evict. Who rents your home will make or break your rental income. If it is your friend, family or partner then when the time comes to make that decision of evicting, you won’t do it. Which means you don’t have a rental, you have a charitable contribution. Decide now if it is a rental or a charity and pick rental tenants only. – Joseph Edgar, TenantCloud

4. Realistic Rent Amounts

Check local rental listings to find out what you can realistically charge. If you want to find a good tenant, the rent must be comparable to the going market rate. – Beatrice de Jong, Open Listings (YC W15)

5. Local Laws

Landlords will be tempted to rent more space than is locally allowed, such as a finished basement that is not approved as a legal unit. Also, with Airbnb becoming popular for landlords, as well as a hot button issue for communities, knowing the specific laws and guidelines is crucial. Fines for these types of actions are very costly and will kill your profit. Short money could become a long problem. – Ralph DiBugnara, Home Qualified

6. Your Investing Goals

One thing many first-time landlords forget to do is define their investing goals. We certainly did this with our first rental property. We figured, as long as it was cash-flowing, we’d keep renting it out. However, we failed to take into account the appreciation and diminishing return on equity. Had we defined our investing goals up front, we could have grown our portfolio much more quickly. – Annie Dickerson, Goodegg Investments

7. If The Numbers Work

Before you get emotionally invested in the idea of converting your home into a rental, you have to run the numbers. Ask yourself: “If I was a real estate investor analyzing this property for potential purchase as a rental, do the numbers work?” A fundamental rule of sound rental property investing dictates that the rental should cash-flow from day one. Run the numbers and let them guide you. – Spencer Hilligoss, Madison Investing

8. Condition Of The Home’s Maintenance

In assisting a client with finding a rental property, you must consider the condition of the home’s maintenance. Whether a relocation getting a sense of the area or moving from an apartment, the rental experience can make or sour the client to an area, ownership and your service. Always inspect the HVAC and appliances, as dealing with them can be a hassle your client blames on you. – Blake Plumley,Capital Pursuits LLC

9. Getting Long-Term Tenants

Consider finding tenants that are interested in longer-term leases as this will save you time and money in the long run. Any property rented out will experience wear and tear, but you can avoid this annual cost if tenants are not moving out each year. Additionally, this will save you lost rent that comes with having a vacant property and the time it takes to find a new tenant. – Joshua Lybolt, Lifstyl Real Estate

10. Renters Insurance

I always make sure that the tenants who rent my clients’ properties have rental insurance coverage. This protects them in the event that something goes wrong during the tenancy. – Deborah Rabbino Bhatt,Vesta New York

11. Vacancy Costs

Remember that pricing a property at market rate helps you become cash flow positive sooner and lowers vacancy costs. Landlords often price their property above market rate to “see what you can get.” Starting your pricing too high actually lowers interest from renters. As your property stays on the market longer, it becomes stale and takes longer to rent. We’ve seen this increases vacancy costs. – Chuck Hattemer, Onerent

12. Home Warranty Plans

Becoming a landlord? Be sure to pay a few hundred dollars a year on a home warranty plan that covers repair costs with a minimum fee upfront and make the tenant pay the fee each time. Hire a property manager to oversee the property and any work orders placed with the home warranty company. There’s no need to pay for repairs and end up with negative cash flow. Home warranties pay for themselves over time. – Angela Yaun, Day Realty Group

13. Property Inspection

Getting a property inspection prior to tenants moving in is always a good idea. It will help owners understand if there are any “hidden” issues within the home so that they can make repairs on them before they could snowball over time. This will hopefully prevent any potential injuries or late-night calls from the tenants and will give both parties peace of mind! – Brad Le, Compass

Source: forbes.com

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