Experienced and green investors evaluate potential investment properties very differently. Both should follow a few similar guidelines.
When considering an income property, the first decision is to establish your targeted rental client. The property you choose may limit the pool of prospective tenants, but not in the way you’d hoped. If you’re targeting young professionals, location, features, amenities and potential rental rate will be very different than that for a future tenant who is just entering the market as a first-time renter still in school or just entering the workforce who needs to be located near public transportation.
Next is to determine, based on your targeted client, the location, features, amenities and rental rate for your likely renter. A good rule of thumb is to purchase a property you wouldn’t mind living in yourself, and the closer to home the better. Long-distance land lording is not advisable.
Though some landlords feel it’s too close for comfort, a rental in your own neighborhood will allow you to keep an eye on your property, and to know first if anything begins to go wrong. No matter where you purchase, always introduce yourself to the neighbors and give them your cell number and tell them to call you before they call the police, if the need arises.
Now that you’ve found the right property at what looks like the right price, it’s time to confirm that with a rental rate estimate based on the currently rented homes in the area before you make the purchase. Your experienced REALTOR® can help with that.
If the rental rate estimate looks promising, consider the condition of the property. Is it just dated or dilapidated? Has it been updated in the last 5 years? Or does it need a major overhaul? Floor plan issues are best left to the pros. For a positive return on your investment, kitchen updates shouldn’t cost more than 10% of the home’s value. That’s true for any renovation.
Determine your level of ability to make changes that would make your rental number one with interested consumers. Choose materials and products that require less routine care and maintenance, and factor in the timeframe to complete and cost for each. Add 20% to your budget for unexpected delays and overages. Your REALTOR® can provide a list of licensed, preferred vendors to help with any repairs, maintenance, or renovations needed.
If the total cost of the project meets with your overall budget, it’s time to get the property under contract, begin advertising for a renter, and screen and hire your renovation team.
Next up, how to screen for good tenants.