Buying rental properties is a good way to increase your assets. However, choosing the right rental property will be challenging. Here are a few things to check for prior to buying rental property.
1. Location – Most people don’t want to live in the boon docks. The location of your rental property will determine how easy it will be to rent. If you have a lot of vehicle traffic, you may receive a greater response from a sign at the location than you will from a newspaper add.
Tenants want to live in nice neighborhoods close to all the amenities. They want to be close to the schools, stores, recreational locations, hospitals, and work.
I haven’t met anyone who wants to live in an undesirable neighborhood or drive 15 minutes for a gallon of milk.
2. Numbers – When buying rental property you want to check the numbers. Make sure you have all the expenses associated with that property and make sure it still has a positive cash flow.
Take into consideration the maintenance issues, any utilities not covered by tenant and amortize the cost of the big projects like furnace replacement, new roofing, siding or landscaping.
These projects only happen once every 15-20 years but you may be coming in to this in the 10th year of that cycle. Remember to calculate your expenses high and your income low. This can save you some surprises down the road.
Expect the unit to be empty at least one month per year due to turn over. You will have to repaint and clean the carpets the first 2 weeks, then advertise and show the next 2 weeks. You should only count on 11 months of rent per year.
3. Lower Maintenance Buildings – You want to avoid homes that will require expensive routine maintenance. Some examples would be homes that have cedar-shake shingles or siding, wood sided buildings, wood frame windows, brick driveways, cedar decks, etc.
Try to look down the road and determine the future maintenance needs. Remember the lower the maintenance the less headaches and larger profits.
4. Higher Home Prices – Check in towns with higher home prices, because this increases the demand for rental property. Look for the ugly house on the block that has a lower price, enabling you to purchase within the margins.
After some interior and exterior paint, a little light landscaping and new curtains, viola’, a house that will get premium rent because of the class of neighborhood.
If people can not afford to buy a home in this class they will have to rent. This will create a demand for rental property.
5. Below Market Rent prices – When buying rental property, look for rental property which has rent prices that are below current market rents. This will allow you to raise the rent and increase the value of the property. As per above, this may just need a little fluff to enable raising the rental price.
Rental property market value is determined by the amount of income received by the rental property. However keep in mind, if the rental property has renters when you purchase it, they may not like it when you raise the rent. Also check to see what type of lease is in place. The lease goes with the sale.