Our First Year Being Landlords

In the midst of a chaotic year, our tenant decided to move out after a year (and a month). So we found ourselves with stress on stress on stress in October. We learned a few valuable lessons in that first year that I’d love to share!

  1. Get sewer line insurance. This is not just for rental properties. If your sewer line is old, just get insurance. We paid $6,000 to replace it and a neighbor of ours had the insurance and paid $50. Gulp. So check with your insurance company and add the rider! So important.
  2. We didn’t do a great job checking references. What would have been a few more detailed calls could have saved us the stress of lots of chasing late payments when our mortgage was due! Even if someone seems great, do some detailed reference calls.
  3. Have a lawyer draw up your lease. There are lots of great online resources to create a lease but get a living, breathing person to create your lease! We did this and it saved us when it got a little tense in the last month of the lease. We were so thankful we didn’t have a generic lease.
  4. If the way the lawn looks matters to you, hire a lawn care company. We had in our lease that the lawn was the tenants responsibility but that really is not very inforcable. The relationships we have with the neighbors of the rental property are important to us, we care what the lawn looks like, so we will likely pay from here on out for lawn care. It’s a tax deduction so it really is totally worth the peace of mind. Snow is still their responsibility!
  5. Get a good tax accountant. Find someone who can brainstorm with you over all of your potential deductions. Things like cell phone bills and internet can be deducted but we’d never have known that if someone didn’t tell us! This will end up saving lots of money in the long run.

Good luck! We’re happy we decided to keep the property as a rental and hope we can keep it for years to come!

Do you have anything to add? Any questions for a newbie landlord?

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