Have you ever thought about investing in rental properties? If so, you’re not alone. Residential income property investing is one of the most popular ways to make money in real estate. And for a good reason—it can be a very profitable business when done right. About two-thirds of all millionaires in the United States made their fortune through owning income property.
But before you jump in head first, you should know a few things about starting your own rental home business.
Why Rental Homes?
There are many reasons why people choose to invest in rental homes. For one, they offer a more stable return on investment than other real estate investments, like flipping houses. They also provide the potential for cash flow—the ability to earn money from your investment right away. And finally, they offer the opportunity to build long-term wealth through appreciation.
Of course, there are also some risks associated with rental homes. For example, they require more management and upkeep than other investments, like stocks or bonds. They’re also subject to vacancy risk, where your tenant will move out and leave you with an empty property (and no income). But these risks can be minimized if you do your homework and choose your properties wisely.
1. Know Your Numbers
Before you start looking for properties to buy, you must understand the numbers involved in the business of renting homes. This includes everything from acquisition costs (the price of the property itself) to operating expenses (the cost of maintaining the property) to potential returns (the amount of rent you can charge). Once you have a firm understanding of all the numbers involved, you’ll be in a much better position to make sound investment decisions.
The most important number to understand is your return on investment or ROI. This is the percentage of your initial investment you can expect to earn back in rent. For example, if you buy a rental property for $100,000 and charge $1,000 in rent each month, your ROI would be 1%. Simply divide your monthly rent by your purchase price to calculate your ROI.
2. Choose the Right Properties
Not all rental properties are created equal—some will generate higher returns than others. When choosing properties to invest in, look for ones located in areas with strong economic fundamentals (like population growth or job creation) and that offer quality amenities (like public transportation or good schools). These properties will be much easier to rent and more profitable in the long run.
If you start from the ground up, consider looking for land lots for sale in areas with above-average population growth. These areas are more likely to have new home construction, which can provide you with a constant supply of potential tenants. Opt to build single-family homes or small apartment buildings, as these tend to be the most popular with renters.
3. Get the Right Financing
You can’t buy rental properties without money, so you’ll need to secure the appropriate financing before you start your search. There are a few different ways to finance income property, but the most common is through a mortgage. When applying for a mortgage to buy a rental property, be prepared to put down a larger down payment than you would for a primary residence—usually 20% or more.
You’ll also need good credit to show you can make monthly mortgage payments. If you don’t have the money for a down payment or good credit, you may still be able to finance a rental property by finding a partner who does. Just be sure to create a partnership agreement outlining each person’s responsibilities and how you will split profits.
4. Find Good Tenants
Last but not least, you must find good tenants for your properties who will pay their rent on time and take care of your property while they’re living there. The best way to do this is by carefully screening potential tenants and running a credit check before signing a lease agreement. This will help you avoid problem tenants and minimize vacancy risk down the road.
Try to get to know your tenants a bit before renting to them. Meet them in person or speak with them on the phone. If they seem like they would be good tenants, go ahead and run a credit check. You can also ask for references from their previous landlords.
If you’re thinking about starting your own rental home business, there are a few things you need to know first. Always remember to know your numbers, choose the right properties, get the right financing, and find good tenants. With these tips in mind, you’ll be on your way to a successful rental business in no time.