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When starting your own real estate business, the most important thing you’ll need to know is how to be a good landlord. To turn a profit and reduce your turnover rate, you’ll need to make sure that your tenants are happy and comfortable in their home. We’ve created a list of tips to aid you on your journey to becoming the best landlord you can be.

1. Know the Laws

You need to familiarize yourself with your state’s laws. You and your tenant should know each other’s rights throughout the rental process. These include, among other things, damages, lead paint disclosures, and fair housing. Make sure that everyone understands all the important information in your lease.

2. Be Available

The last thing tenants want is a distant landlord. They need to be able to get ahold of you—you don’t want to leave them hanging for several days on end. With that in mind, stick to regular business hours and provide your tenants with a schedule outlining your office hours. Make sure they understand once you’re back to working in the morning, you’ll address their communication as soon as possible.

3. Stay on Top of Maintenance

Failure to provide maintenance as needed is the top reason tenants won’t renew a lease. Going hand in hand with availability, you need your tenants to trust that you’ll tend to any necessary repairs. Never leave them without air conditioning or with a broken faucet for too long.

4. Keep a Paper Trail

You should keep any communication you’ve had with your tenant in electronic files. You want to keep proof of any texts, emails, and signed documents from your tenants, as well as receipts from completed maintenance projects. Having these on hand will keep you protected if any type of legal situation arises.

5. Consider a Property Management Company

When done correctly, real estate can become an extremely lucrative career. As such, if you get to a point where you own a substantial amount of properties, you may consider outsourcing some of your work. Property managers will supervise your investments and take on the responsibility of caring for and monitoring the building. If you’re looking to make more investments in the future, start looking into property management companies and adjusting the budget to ensure you can utilize this resource.

Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for Patch.com, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.