So you’ve got a property that you can’t sell and you’re losing money just by owning it. What do you do?

If you want to sell your current home, but have little or no equity, you may have to come up with tens of thousands of dollars at the closing table to satisfy your loan. Or you could become an “accidental landlord” and rent out the house until you are able to make a different decision financially

You might become an accidental landlord through a death by inheriting an apartment building, condo, or house. If you’re in the military and are being transferred, you may not be ready or willing to sell your home, as you maybe because hoping to return back to it one day.

There are often circumstances that you would like to sell your home, but you may not be able to due to market depression, tax liens,  mortgages, accumulated depreciation, and other unexpected issues.

Rent Out Your Property!

The easiest way to relieve yourself of your accidental landlord title, is to get your property rented. Here’s some steps to help you along the way:

1) Getting your Property Rental Ready

The first step to getting your property rented is to make sure your property is rental ready. This means that your property is clean, well taken care of, freshly painted, etc.

The first few things that tenants look for are:

  • a clean property, a property that is well maintained
  • the home has neutral walls and carpeting
  • the lawn is cut and trees are trimmed everywhere on the property
  • can they see themselves living in that property?

You may love your favorite purple couch and faux painted walls, but you need to think as a tenant would.Replace that couch with a tan, black, white, or any neutral color and repaint the walls within neutral colors.


Your property can be priced perfectly and in the nicest area but if it is not rental ready, you will have a hard time renting it out.

2) Market Your Property

The second step to getting your property rented is to market your property. There are various internet sites that allow you to market your property.

You can post images and a description of your property onto one of the websites and that will get you rental prospects.

Another way to market your property is to put out signs in front of the house. A sign out front will attract the eye of someone driving by, who could potentially be a tenant. This is a way to quickly get your property seen, as it doesn’t take very long to make a sign.

Also, you could print out flyers to pass out so many people from various locations can see your property. This could be a great way to spread the word that your property is up for rent, because you can physically hand out flyers or put them up in popular areas.

3) Showing your property

The third step to getting your property rented is determining how your going to show your property. Will you try to have an open house, use a lockbox, or have potential tenants schedule appointments with you? There are benefits for each option.

With an open house you can see multiple potential tenants all at once making it an easy option for you. This option is the least time consuming as you can get everyone interested a quick view of the property all at once.

The benefit of a lockbox is that the potential tenant can go view the property at almost any time. The tenant can view the property at their leisure, and you don’t have to worry about meeting the tenant at a specific time for an appointment, making it easier for you and the renter.

The pitfalls of using a lockbox system that is not electronically capturing the potential renter’s information is that you have an unknown individual entering your rental property.

The other option is a scheduled appointment with you and the tenant. This option allows you to get to know the tenant a little more because you are with them one on one showing them the property.

The disadvantage of a scheduled appointment is that you have a good chance of the tenant standing you up. The tenant could have easily forgotten your appointment, found another property, or had an emergency that they could not make the appointment, and forgot to tell you and you are left waiting at the property for no one. If this happens multiple times it can not only be frustrating, but time consuming and costly.

4) Qualifying prospective tenants

The fourth step for getting your property rented is to qualify the prospective tenant.


This is what will ensure you are getting a good and happy tenant. To qualify a tenant you will need to complete a full background check on them.

Information from the background check will include:

  • civil search for any evictions or litigation
  • criminal search for any felonies
  • sexual offender search, terrorist watch list
  • social security number verification
  • credit check to determine how individuals handle their obligations
  • cross reference addresses from application against the addresses included on the credit report

As the landlord you should know if:

  1. your tenant could be a criminal and a threat to anyone or anything
  2. that he or she has a good civil background
  3. has never been evicted or owes any money to previous landlords
  4. that he or she pays bills on time and in entirety
  5. that he or she took care of his or her prior properties

A background check is extremely important because you as a landlord want a safe, reliable tenant. Also, you want the neighbors surrounding your property to be happy with your tenant or that could lead to more complications for you.

You need to be comfortable with your tenant, as you should not be afraid or uncomfortable to talk or meet with your tenant.

5) Placing The Tenant

Once you have found a potential tenant, you will need to place the tenant into your property. Here are some things you will need to get this done:


When placing the tenant into your property you will want to be sure you have a good rental contract. The rental contract will define:

  • when rent is due
  • how rent is paid
  • what happens if rent is not paid or is late
  • who is responsible for the maintenance on the property
  • who pays utilities
  • and other important factors that need to be specified

This information is very important to you, as the landlord, as you want to ensure that you are getting paid on time, properly, and in entirety.

If there is confusion with paying rent, utilities, or maintenance the tenant could easily say that the rental contract did not state specifics or what to do in certain circumstances.

To spare yourself and your tenant from any confusion you want to make sure you have written a strong, affective rental contract. You, as the landlord, need to make sure your tenant is aware of who is paying utilities and who is responsible for any maintenance. You do not want your tenant calling you upset about a broken sink, if that is not your responsibility.

If you stated in the rental contract that the tenant is responsible for any and all maintenance on the property, that means that you do not have to aid to the tenant whenever something breaks or is damaged.

You do not want your tenant or resident calling you at all hours of the day or night, or even over a holiday weekend. It is important that you specify how these requests will be made and handled, so that you are not bothered unnecessarily.


You also want to do a thorough move in inspection, to document the condition of the home prior to the tenant moving in. This will serve as your guidance when they move out, showing if they have done any damage and should be charged or if the property is in good condition and they should have their security deposit refunded to them.

This move in inspection is not to correct deficiencies in the home, but rather to document the overall condition of the rental property. A copy of the property inspection should be provided to the tenant.

6) Managing The Tenant

Once you place your tenant in your home, you will need to know how to properly manage your tenant. Here are suggestions:


Every action needs to have a reaction, this means that you would need to send a notice to the tenant for any infractions, lease violations, or non- compliance’s that take place.

You will need to research your own state’s landlord and tenant laws and regulations to determine which notices are applicable to each situation.

For example: a non-paying tenant might be a late notice, whereas an illegal dog might be a non-compliance.

In addition, you should understand that this home, while it is yours, is no longer yours while it is tenant occupied. Meaning you can not enter as you see fit, you must give the tenant proper notification for an interior inspection. You should also follow fair housing and any other government regulations that are applicable to rental property.

Feeling Overwhelmed?

If all of this seems a daunting task, no worries.

There are professional property management companies that can do everything stated above and far more. The professional ones are licensed, insured, and have all of the resources to manage your home, condo, apartment, duplex, or rental property.

They will not only take on all of the responsibilities, but they will give you the peace of mind and maximize the return on your investment property.


A professional management company will save you thousands and cost you around as much as the monthly lawn service you pay for your personal residence.


After you’ve begun to establish your Property Management Business, you’ll want to start seeking to hire Property Managers. When you are seeking to hire/develop Property Managers you’ll want to consider the qualifications and duties of your potential employee.


  • Have successfully completed real estate courses for the state your business is in,  and possess a minimum of a Sales Associate Real Estate license
  • Be professional and present himself/herself well
  • Be a take-charge individual
  • Have Reliable transportation
  • Be self-motivated
  • Be willing to pitch in and do whatever is needed
  • Be willing to work as a 1099 Real Estate Professional
  • Be able to manage multiple clients and be detail oriented
  • Salary is based on Commission


  • Responsible for all aspects of property management
  • Performs inspections on vacant units
  • Oversees readying units for rental
  • Conducts Lease negotiation and preparation
  • Issues all appropriate notices
  • Places signs and lockboxes
  • Performs interior and exterior inspections
  • Makes claims on security claims
  • Meets with prospective owners and tenants
  • Places rental properties on website and different internet marketing sites
  • Ensures background checks are conducted on prospective tenants
  • Is responsible for client service satisfaction

As the owner of a Property Management Franchise, You must devote substantial time and energy each week in order to meet your marketing goals.

Marketing is the primary force behind efforts to attract owners and tenants, and significant time and resources should be dedicated to supporting these efforts at the local level.


You should use the following direct mail pieces:

  • Postcards
  • Letters

You should be using direct mail to generate name recognition and create awareness for owners.

You can purchase lists from direct mail firms or your local marketing agency. You should purchase lists that include investors, insurance companies, owners of non-owner occupied real estate, and real estate professionals within your territory.

Direct mail to real estate agents must also be followed-up with personal visits, promotional gifts, and phone calls.

By planning early, you can save money by obtaining a bulk rate permit and pre-sort your direct mail as required by the post office.

Your local post office can help you get a permit and provides classes where you can learn how to pre-sort them. This assumes you are printing the labels, putting them on the direct mail piece, sorting and mailing yourself. Or, you can pay a direct mail company to fulfill your direct mail mailing process.

They will be able to let you “borrow” their bulk rate permit and they will mail your pieces for you. It generally takes 10-15 days to receive a postcard which was mailed using a bulk rate. The fastest way to reach potential clients is with a first-class postage. Typically, it will get in the potential client’s hands in 2-3 days.

Also, using first class mail allows you to receive returned mail which means you can see how many bad addresses you included in your mailing. If you buy a quality list, this should not be an issue since they purge their list annually. Never use a list that is older than one year.

No matter where your property management franchise is, you should always be prepared for what lies ahead. As the business owner, it is your duty to be pro-active and responsible to prevent safety infractions BEFORE they occur.


You must make sure that the safety of your clients, customers, and employees is your top priority. Please call the local police if you feel your safety is compromised.

Impending Storm

Use common sense. Check and see what your neighbors are doing.

If you anticipate a severe storm (hurricane, blizzard, tornado, etc.), you should not operate.

You should give enough advance notice so that office employees and can get home safely.

If a lease signing needs to be canceled due to inclement weather, the office must contact the client to reschedule.

Power Outage

If it is only your location being affected, call the power company. Turn off air conditioners, computers, and other electrical equipment to protect them from power surges. Close the office if the security or safety of office employees is in jeopardy. Most outages are short.

Computers need to be backed up and protected with surge protectors.

Vehicle Safety

You must operate your vehicle according to the manufacturer’s operating instructions as well as according to all Federal, State, and Local laws.

All vehicles should come with the manufacturer’s operating instructions and those
instructions must be followed at all times. If you are missing instructions, contact the
manufacturer to obtain a copy. Make sure any employee operating vehicles know where the instructions are kept.

You must always follow the federal, state, and local laws regarding operating a vehicle.
You must follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and preventive maintenance schedules in order to minimize unscheduled repairs and down time.

All equipment and vehicles must be repaired immediately upon learning of the problem. This will save you time and money and will have a positive effect on clients’ perception.

You must maintain all equipment and vehicles in accordance with manufacturers’ maintenance schedules.

Key Security

Keys are to remain locked at all times. All keys leaving the office must be signed out.

Never allow the only set of keys to leave the office unless it is for a move-out inspection. You must make a duplicate copy if that is your only key. If you have no other alternative than to provide the only key, make sure you have taken a deposit or something of value to ensure that the key will be returned.

No one except authorized individuals should be allowed access to the key room. You must never allow vendors to retrieve their own keys.

All keys must be logged in and filed each day. It is the key person’s responsibility to follow up daily on keys that have not been returned, including vendors and Property Managers.

Keys should be tagged and filed by using only the house number. Never write an entire address on a key tag. In the event a property owner provides keys with full addresses, replace the key tag.

Keys should be stored in plastic tackle boxes (1”x 8”x 11”) in numerical order from street numbers. (Example: Box 1 includes numbers 1-100, Box 2 includes numbers 101-200, etc.)

Never issue keys to a tenant prior to everyone executing the lease, all monies are paid by certified funds, and a move-in checklist is complete.

Data Backup

It is recommended that you backup your files at the end of every business day and at the end of each week. The daily backups take care of information if a storm disrupts your computer or your computer faces technical trouble.

The weekly back-up is an insurance policy if a larger problem such as a fire destroying the zip drive and laptop.

A lot of people have unrealistic views of what property managers actually do. Here are 6 myths about property management (that aren’t grounded in reality).


FALSE! Property Managers manage a valuable asset, and it is extremely valuable to both the investor and the tenant.


FALSE! Property Managers make a good residual income, with stable income streams from long-term clients.


FALSE! 1/3 of the US housing market is renter occupied. That means over 40 million housing units are occupied by renters, from college students to retirees. As homeownership rates decrease in the US, the number of renters continues to rise.

The demographic of renters is broad and inclusive of both educated and uneducated individuals, and both low and high income brackets.


FALSE! Property Management services are comprehensive and focus on servicing tenants and managing real estate for investors.



FALSE! Property Managers are extremely professional and have a large knowledge-base that allows them to handle the many facets of managing properties (service, legal, accounting, regulations, etc.)


FALSE! Property Managers are responsible for marketing properties and securing tenants for rental properties. This service applies to every income bracket, low to high.