Author Topic: Advice on owner-occupied landlording?  (Read 1559 times)

mrteacher

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Advice on owner-occupied landlording?
« on: March 10, 2018, 05:58:22 AM »
Hi all,

My wife and I recently purchased a two-unit home! The closing date is two months from now, so we have some time to figure out how to approach our new role as homeowners and landlords - it's the landlord role that for which I am seeking advice.

The house is a upstairs/downstairs split; we will live in the upstairs unit and rent out the downstairs unit. There are separate entrances for both units.

As we have never been landlords before, I am looking for any and all tips --- particularly from those of you who have done the owner-occupied/landlord gig. Anything specific we should know since we will be living above our renters?

List any and all tips: listing the unit, showing the unit, screening, rent collection, how to setup repairs when necessary, how to format and write a lease, etc.

Thank you!
« Last Edit: March 10, 2018, 12:03:09 PM by mrteacher »

cheddarpie

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Re: Advice on owner-occupied landlording?
« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2018, 08:02:21 AM »
Where are you located?

Would you be interested in AirBnB or short term rentals, or only long term?

cchrissyy

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Re: Advice on owner-occupied landlording?
« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2018, 09:55:40 AM »
https://store.nolo.com/products/landlord-tenant/landlord-books
these people have very helpful books. 
I'd suggest "the first time landlord" plus one about taxes and deductions, and maybe the one about selecting tenants, if you still want more info on that.

mrteacher

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Re: Advice on owner-occupied landlording?
« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2018, 12:03:44 PM »
Where are you located?

Would you be interested in AirBnB or short term rentals, or only long term?

Located in Western Michigan. We would prefer the long term rental, but what were you thinking?

YttriumNitrate

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Re: Advice on owner-occupied landlording?
« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2018, 12:45:54 PM »
Owner-occupied landlording is probably the best way to get into landlording as you'll be able to spot problems/issues as soon as they come up. My short list of tips are:

1. Advertise the place on Zillow (craigslist is a mess these days where I am).
2. Take good photographs for the ad.
3. Use https://www.mysmartmove.com/  or a similar service to do a background check on the future tenant.
4. Actually call up the tenants previous landlord or references.
5. Use an automated online rent collection system like Cozy.
6. The screening process is the most important part, so make sure you and your spouse spend a good time talking with the future tenants.

mozar

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Re: Advice on owner-occupied landlording?
« Reply #5 on: March 10, 2018, 04:45:03 PM »
Take your time finding a good tenant. It's better to have a vacancy than a poor match.

chasesfish

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Re: Advice on owner-occupied landlording?
« Reply #6 on: March 10, 2018, 05:21:40 PM »
Have you spent any time over on the Bigger Pockets website or forum?  That's where you need to start asking questions

cheddarpie

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Re: Advice on owner-occupied landlording?
« Reply #7 on: March 10, 2018, 06:46:44 PM »
Where are you located?

Would you be interested in AirBnB or short term rentals, or only long term?

Located in Western Michigan. We would prefer the long term rental, but what were you thinking?

Cool -- I've done both. I have a basement apartment that I rented for about 3 years as a long term rental, the first 6 mos. or so to friends and then to folks from Craigslist. They were great tenants, but since I live in the upstairs house and we share yard, laundry, etc. I was ready to have the space be more "mine" and available for family visits, etc., so converted it to a furnished short-term rental. Everyone else has pointed you in good directions for landlording 101, so I won't repeat their recs, but if you want to do short-term rentals there are some other threads on this topic too. In general, I prefer my current setup because of the flexibility it provides, but it's more regular work to coordinate everything and be a friendly host. I do a mix of longer term (3 mos.) and shorter (3 nights) but try to do mostly monthly rentals. I am close to a couple of hospitals and universities so there is always demand from people visiting family, internships, residency, travel nurses, etc. Whether short-term rentals would work for you really depends on your location -- it has the potential of a lot more cash, but the flip side is a lot more vacancy if you're not in a high-demand area. Happy to answer more questions if you decide to go this route. Good luck!

mrteacher

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Re: Advice on owner-occupied landlording?
« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2018, 01:38:37 PM »
Where are you located?

Would you be interested in AirBnB or short term rentals, or only long term?

Located in Western Michigan. We would prefer the long term rental, but what were you thinking?

Cool -- I've done both. I have a basement apartment that I rented for about 3 years as a long term rental, the first 6 mos. or so to friends and then to folks from Craigslist. They were great tenants, but since I live in the upstairs house and we share yard, laundry, etc. I was ready to have the space be more "mine" and available for family visits, etc., so converted it to a furnished short-term rental. Everyone else has pointed you in good directions for landlording 101, so I won't repeat their recs, but if you want to do short-term rentals there are some other threads on this topic too. In general, I prefer my current setup because of the flexibility it provides, but it's more regular work to coordinate everything and be a friendly host. I do a mix of longer term (3 mos.) and shorter (3 nights) but try to do mostly monthly rentals. I am close to a couple of hospitals and universities so there is always demand from people visiting family, internships, residency, travel nurses, etc. Whether short-term rentals would work for you really depends on your location -- it has the potential of a lot more cash, but the flip side is a lot more vacancy if you're not in a high-demand area. Happy to answer more questions if you decide to go this route. Good luck!

Definitely interesting to consider! I think, for now, we'd like to have the consistency and minimal work required with a long-term tenant. Maybe once we get our feet under ourselves.


NEW question: the tenant in the other unit wants to stay on. I have yet to find out if she pays rent consistently and on time, but if she does I'm leaning towards having her stay even though her rent is $100-$150 lower than it could be and she is on the dirty side.

If we raised the rent and she left then we'd have the vacant time + the time we'd need to put in cleaning up and doing some necessary deferred maintenance.

Any thoughts on this new question of mine?

cheddarpie

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Re: Advice on owner-occupied landlording?
« Reply #9 on: March 12, 2018, 02:22:39 PM »

NEW question: the tenant in the other unit wants to stay on. I have yet to find out if she pays rent consistently and on time, but if she does I'm leaning towards having her stay even though her rent is $100-$150 lower than it could be and she is on the dirty side.

If we raised the rent and she left then we'd have the vacant time + the time we'd need to put in cleaning up and doing some necessary deferred maintenance.

Any thoughts on this new question of mine?

Sounds like an ideal option if she is a good tenant. You could carry over a month-to-month lease or extend it for three months or six months as a trial period, and then go month to month from there. Seems like that would give you time to get settled into your own place, fix things that inevitably break in the first few months of home ownership, and think more about what you want to do with the apartment in the meantime. And if it turns out she's a good tenant and you want to keep her on, easy peasy! Good tenants are worth their weight in gold, so an extra $100/mo or so would be a small price to pay and you can always raise the rent gradually over time. If it turns out she's a bad tenant, at least you've gotten that out of the way and experienced what it is like to co-habitate with a bad tenant on a short-term basis rather than one who's already signed a long-term lease -- with that information, you can always reevaluate what you want to do with the space.