Let’s say one day you don’t own rental properties then suddenly find out you’re a future landlord. Turns out you’re the favorite nephew of a long lost uncle who passed away and instead of selling it you decide to keep it. Smart choice so here are a few tips to be an effective landlord that you can put into practice right away.

4 tips for sucessful landlords

Tip 1: Due Diligence  You can’t do enough of it. You need to thoroughly and independently vet your potential tenants. Pull your own credit report on them and don’t accept a tenant-provided report. Look at copies of pay check stubs and verify their monthly income and place a call directly to their employers and ask if they’re working there or not.

Tip 2: Don’t Use a Template Lease Agreement  You can certainly find no shortage of lease agreement templates that only require you to fill in a couple of blanks such as tenant names and monthly rent but they may not provide the protection you need. Every agreement should be in writing and all adults who will be living in the property should be on the lease agreement.

Tip 3: Think Like a Bank  Determine whether or not your tenants can comfortably afford the rent. When placing a mortgage, banks want to see the house payment be about 33 percent of gross monthly income and all monthly debt no greater than 38 percent. Don’t count anything that doesn’t appear on a credit report but do count any child and spousal support and day care.

Tip 4: Be Courteous  Be nice to your tenants and let them know you care about them. Respond quickly when they call and take care of maintenance issues as soon as possible. If you’re going to pay a visit and it’s a non-emergency, give them a 24 hour advance notice of your arrival.