Part of managing your properties is to ensure that they remain in good condition so that you can rent them out for a good price. Having a happy tenant definitely helps! Since your tenants are the ones who are living at your flats or houses, they are likely motived to keep them in good condition. Doing sufficient maintenance means fewer repairs and fewer repairs mean less cost, hassle, and time consumption.

Depending on the jurisdiction, you are allowed to put clauses into your tenancy agreements that oblige the tenant to do adequate maintenance of the property, to carry out minor repairs (for example, of up to $200) themselves and to hand back the property to you in its original condition when they move out. I recommend you put those clauses in as well if the law allows. Even for larger repairs you can mutually agree with your tenants that after you have given your approval for the repair, they are the ones who coordinate with the respective contractors to get it done. This way, they get what they need at a schedule that suits them and you are not involved in coordinating back and forth.

For major repairs or refurbishments, you need to agree with your tenants up-front as it might impact their lifestyle temporarily. Should you have done a major upgrade and added a lot of value to the interior of your property, you can potentially also talk to your tenants about a rent increase to reflect that value-add.

Numbers

You will only be able to manage your money adequately if you carefully and painstakingly record every single expense you had or are planning to incur and every dollar, pound, or Euro that you earn. Bookkeeping and accounting are not topics perceived as fun by a lot of people, but they are important not only for your cash flow management, but also for you to be prepared to file a correct tax return. The accountant and tax consultant on your team will help you to accomplish that.

Apart from managing the details of your individual properties you must not lose sight of the overall picture of your entire property portfolio. Continuously make sure that you are still on track to achieve the goals that you have set and that the properties in your portfolio are in line with your strategy.

In your property portfolio overview, sort by the returns that they are generating for you. For those that you are happy with, no further action is required. For the others, ask yourself whether there is anything you can do in order to enhance their returns like adding value, or increasing the rent – and then do it. Should that either not be possible or still not meet your expectations, it is time to sell those low performers. Remember to think like an investor and to keep your emotions out of the picture for such decisions. A bad investment was just a bad investment. Learn from it and move on.


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