It’s easy to make mistakes as a San Diego landlord, and even experienced rental property owners find themselves making expected errors and reeling from bad decisions.
Most people make a mistake and move on. The problem, of course, is that these mistakes can usually be expensive.
Today, we’re talking about some of the most common mistakes we come across, and how you can avoid the cost and the headaches that come with these situations.
Pricing Your San Diego Rental Property Incorrectly
Your home’s rental value will depend largely on the market.
This is sometimes difficult to accept, especially if you’re hoping to earn a certain amount in order to cover your mortgage and expenses. But, if the San Diego rental market doesn’t support the rental value you’re hoping for, there’s no point in pricing it that high. It won’t rent, and the vacancy will cost you a lot of money.
Take a look at what homes similar to yours are renting for in your neighborhood.
Price your home competitively, otherwise it will sit vacant, and that vacancy cost will be far more damaging than bringing the asking price down by $150 or $200 per month.
There are other factors that impact your rental value, and you have to consider them when pricing your home. These things include:
- Property size and layout
- Property condition
- Property location
- Season/time of year
Choosing the Wrong San Diego Tenant
If you usually operate on instinct, that’s fantastic, but it won’t work when you’re screening and selecting your tenants.
Screen each applicant thoroughly and consistently. Have a set of written rental criteria in place so you can demonstrate that everyone is screened against the same standards. Check income and employment, look for past evictions or criminal convictions, and always check landlord references. Not screening tenants is a big mistake. Screening tenants improperly is also a big mistake. There are local, state, and federal fair housing laws that need your attention. Violating one of them can cost you $16,000 in penalties and fines.
Place a tenant that can be counted on to pay rent on time and take care of your property. A bad tenant will cost you time, money, and a lot of stress.
Not Responding to Routine or Preventative Maintenance
If you’re not responding to routine and emergency maintenance issues with a sense of urgency, you’re making a big mistake.
Emergencies obviously require immediate action. When a tenant calls because the property is flooding or there’s no air conditioning during the hottest days of the summer, you need to take action right away to keep the property habitable.
A lot of landlords make the mistake of not being responsive when routine repair requests are made. Quick response times will show your tenants that you care, and that will increase your retention rates. Immediate maintenance responses also lead to a property that’s better maintained. Don’t avoid maintenance.
California Tenant Laws and Updates
We think it’s a mistake not to hire a San Diego property manager. While you might think that being a landlord is as easy as finding a tenant and collecting rent, there’s a lot more to it. A local property management company can help you save money by reducing vacancy expenses, placing better tenants, and responding to maintenance issues with professional and licensed vendors.
More importantly, your local property manager can keep you in compliance. Renting out a property in San Diego or anywhere in California has become a lot more complicated. The new Tenant Protection Act has implemented statewide rent control and there are new requirements for evictions and screening Section 8 tenants. If you’re not able to stay up to date on the constantly changing laws, you’re going to find yourself in trouble.
Hire a professional San Diego property management company if you want to protect yourself and your investment. You’ll save money, and you won’t have to worry about these expensive mistakes.
We’re always happy to help. Contact us at Mercer Properties for local property management assistance or to ask further questions.