Unless you’ve got several rental properties in your portfolio, you’re likely very hands-on with your unit. Some successful real estate investors enjoy their jobs so much they do it full time, forgoing their previous employment past.

Yet others like to keep their current jobs and buy real estate to keepfinding good tenants and hold for a long term investment. Whether the smaller investor buys an existing property or builds a brand new rental from the ground up, for the first time you’re going to be a landlord. What can you expect when you’re managing your first home?

Much of what will happen later on depends entirely on what you do upfront. That means finding quality tenants who will take care of the property and pay the rent on time. First time landlords can find rental application templates online and there are resources that allow you to independently pull a credit report on a particular applicant. With the applicant’s permission of course. In today’s rental market, demand for rentals is strong in most areas. That means you should be able to have several applicants for you to review. If your first applicant has just average credit, or worse, relax and wait for a solid candidate to show up. It won’t take long. Make note of where they work and for how long and take a look at a recent pay check stub to verify that they’re still employed and the income is sufficient to pay the rent. Your rent should be approximately one-third of gross monthly income.

You can also expect a service call on occasion. You can arrange to have a maintenance company make the repairs for you and bill you later, have the tenants pay for the repairs and deduct it from next month’s rent or take care of the problem on your own. A property that has been well maintained and inspected will have fewer issues than older, more neglected homes.

By properly vetting your applicants and keeping the property in good shape, the only “hands on” you might have is depositing the rent check in your bank account each month.