This series of blogs is to help my friends and clients that have taken the gamble of renting their current home and purchasing their next home.  Being the accidental landlord is not easy, but with some planning and evaluation it can be a fantastic financial move for your future.

Service Calls are a major part of being successful at making money in rental property.  The goal of renting a property is to MAKE money.  Whether you are trying to cover a mortgage and expenses or having a cash flow property, you need to have as much money coming in each month as possible.  This amount can quickly reduce based on a single service call or repair work needed for your tenant.  If you are not “handy” at all or don’t have  a buddy that a few beers can buy his time, renting your home may not be advantageous   Calling a service company may be the expert fix to a problem but many times just checking the issue out yourself can save you lots of money.  Service companies charge a service call charge just to drive to your property and it can be upwards of $100.00.  Add on any repairs and you may be cash flow negative real quick.  So before you start calling these quick and expensive fixers, use some common sense and take the time to evaluate the problem.  Do your own “service calls”.  If the toilet is not flushing, can you clear the drain yourself or can you simply replace the handle yourself.  Learning basic electrical ideas can save you lots of money and carrying a tester with you will help you narrow down problem areas when an outlet is malfunctioning.  Leaky faucets can typically be fixed in a few minutes with new gaskets and replacing the faucet can take less than an hour.  So before you start to rely on a high priced service call, educate yourself and use the common sense tools that everyone has available.

  1. In your spare time watch Youtube videos on basic repairs and quick fixes.   This will save you lots of time and money being able to see how easy most of these tasks are.
  2. Have a good set of tools to do repairs.  Pliers, adjustable wrench and screw drivers can do most of the work, but don’t be afraid to pick up the drain auger or faucet wrench.  They are still less expensive than the service guy for the quick fix
  3. Assess the problem first.  Taking the time to go on-sight and see if its just human error or a small part replacement will keep more money in your pocket, before you call the “expert”.
  4. Still call the expert.  Don’t ever get in over your head.  You still need to keep the property running properly so if the project is beyond your skill set, call the expert.  But manage and monitor them to be sure complete resolution and maybe you will learn a trick or two.

Hopefully this series will be helpful and keep your cash flow positive each month.  Happy Land-lording!