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Don’t rent out a new home…or blog about it either

I was going to write a post giving some kudos to Sara MacLennan’s great post about the hazards of renting out a new house. I went and re-read the post. But then I got distracted by the giant string of comments. Holy crap. 

What is it about real estate that makes people act like fools? 

Sara made some great simple points:

  • There are properties intended for tenants. There are properties that were intended for owners.
  • 99% (I’d say closer to 90%) of tenants won’t take as good care of your property as you will. 
  • If you we planning on flipping a home and are now left holding the bag, think twice about renting it out. It may end up costing you more money than you expect. 
I agree with her comments, and the two pictures were awesome. I have a few thoughts:
  1. Get professional help with renting. This means getting a property manager to take care of it if possible or at least getting some good information. (REIN members get some great info and there’s going to be more coming down the pipe.)
     
  2. Screen prospective tenants hard and don’t skip a step. This means a written application asking for references and actually calling them. Call the employers. Call the past employers. Call their grandmother. Do a credit check, and a RentCheck. Get a signed lease and a signed move-in report before you give them the keys. 
     
  3. Rental Real Estate is different. Don’t get confused, and please, for the love of all things Holy, don’t a) buy a pre-built for anything other than your principle residence or b) try to flip properties unless you’re very, very experienced. You’ll just get screwed. If you want to invest in cash-flowing real estate, then do that. Learn from some pros.
I’m more than happy to go have coffee with people and help them understand the difference between speculation and investing, or better ways to take care of their rentals. 
Sara and Sheldon do a fine job and write a good blog. That post had some good tips in it. Too bad people didn’t catch the point the first time. 
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    { 1 comment… add one }
    • Sara MacLennan October 24, 2008, 12:49 pm

      Hey Chris, thanks so much for the positive feedback. This is an excellent article – your advice (not surprisingly) is bang on. I especially like your third point – real estate is different. Anyway, I don’t know why people get so angry either, we have to spend a good bit of time removing the profanity from people’s comments on our blog. Keep up the good work! Sara.

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