In February of 2015, we moved away from the second home we’ve ever owned. We originally moved there as a way to get closer to our work without moving too far away from family. We felt like it was a middle ground or sorts. At the time, only Hubbalicious was working near San Antonio, I was still staying home with D. However, not long after moving in, that changed and suddenly we were both making the drive to Straight Wheels everyday. It really took a toll on family time, so we decided to make the move and actually live in the same city as our jobs. What a concept, right? Anyway, when we moved out, we decided to rent it to someone and keep the asset as long as we could. That was a year ago, and last month our renter moved out. Having a tenant was an interesting experience, and I’d love to share with you, 7 things I learned from owning a rental property.
7 Things I Learned From Owning A Rental Property
1 – I put too much emphasis on being liked. I made friends with my renter and it made things much more difficult when it came time to discuss and take care of professional things. It’s not like we were hanging out on the weekends or anything, but we were very friendly on the phone and things like that. Be polite, but professional. It will serve you better in the end.
2 – Renters lie. And I don’t mean this in a sweeping generalization kind of way, because obviously there are exceptions to the rule. But to be honest, I’m not one of them. In several different apartments I’ve lived in, I’ve kept my pets a secret because of the outrageous pet fees. It’s not very ethical, I admit that… So I don’t know why I was so surprised to find out that my tenant lied about having multiple dogs. Even now, after she’s moved out, she’s still clinging to the claim that those pet dishes and all that damage was from a friend’s dog who was visiting… despite the fact that I have neighbors telling me they lived there the entire term of her lease.
3 – Not all renters are nightmare tenants. As someone who has rented sporadically throughout our married life, I feel it’s important to put that out there. I think a lot of people don’t invest in real estate because they don’t want to deal with renters. But honestly throughout the entire course our tenant’s lease, she was easy as pie. She paid on time, she kept the house clean and we rarely heard from her. The problems arose when we were ready for her to move out… and she didn’t want to. Which takes me to my next point…
4 – Even the greatest of relationships between renters and landlords can turn ugly in a hot a minute if someone isn’t happy with what’s happening. All the more reason why keeping the relationship professional will help.
5 – No matter how well your tenant took care of the house, it takes money to get it ready to rent. Having never been on the landlord side before now, it was always frustrating when we didn’t get deposits back after making sure to leave the house clean. Despite cleaning, there’s just still so much wear and tear, plus things that need to be done. I don’t think I’ll expect to get any deposits back anymore, because now I understand what goes into getting a house ready to market for rent.
6 – You have to set aside the security deposit… despite the best of intentions, we spent it and then had to come up with the money for repairs before it went on the market. My mom warned me so many times, and I still didn’t save it. You have to save it! It will make it so much easier to spend the money on repairs because it won’t feel like your money.
7 – It’s not all bad. It was difficult towards the end of the lease, and stressful because we had decided to sell it. But the fact of the matter is that we got to keep that house for another year while it gained value, and someone else paid our mortgage. That’s pretty awesome. And we will reap those benefits once the house is sold.
So, after all is said and done, would I do it again, or recommend it for others? I have to say yes. It’s just way too awesome to have someone else pay the equity you’re building in your home. Even with bad renters, I think it would have been worth it.
Do you have a rental? What has been your experience with renters? How about with Landlords?