Turbulent economic times challenge us in all kinds of ways. As a landlord, it can be hard to keep your business successful during a recession—let alone a recession coupled with a pandemic. But that's the world we now find ourselves in, and it helps to have a property management expert in your corner through these challenging times when protecting your Washington DC rentals.
It feels like it's been an eternity since life was normal. But if you think back, you may recall that a lot of experts were predicting a recession even before the pandemic happened. Our team here at Renters Warehouse DC/NOVA heeded that warning, and we've been preparing for this. We're here to offer the tools and resources you need to maintain a successful rental business in all economic climates.
A word of caution: This blog post does not act as a substitute for legal counsel. When in doubt, consult with your trusted attorney or your Professional Landlord for real-time assistance to protect your Washington DC rentals!
It's always hard to maintain your footing when it feels like everything is continually changing. That's often what it feels like when you're trying to be a landlord during turbulent economic conditions. With all the uncertainty we find ourselves in, it can be really hard to feel like you're on solid ground—but it's important to remember that cooler heads prevail. Being proactive rather than simply reacting to changes as they occur can be the key to staying successful—and to maintaining your sanity.
Being proactive doesn't mean predicting disaster before it happens—we all wish we could do that. It's more about stepping outside your current situation and taking a longer view. How do you fortify your rental business so that when you have to deal with a recession, a pandemic, or both, you're ready to get through it?
Build Relationships with Tenants
Now more than ever, it's important to build lasting relationships with tenants. You want your tenants to see you as more than just a faceless landlord! Striking a balance between personal and professional will make tenants want to stay longer—and help them feel more comfortable approaching you about important issues, like maintenance requests and rent problems.
At a time when many renters find themselves out of work, having a professional rapport with you will make it easier to work out a deferment installment plan when tenants are unable to pay rent. This is especially crucial in DC right now after legislation handed down by the DC Council concerning payment plans. When it comes to your Washington DC rentals, you need to be on your toes right now—and kept aware of every change.
Knowledge truly is power. Whether it's keeping an eye on housing markets and economic outlooks, or watching the latest pandemic updates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), staying informed is the most important part of staying ahead of the curve.
Being aware of updates to various moratoriums and guidelines in our area is also crucial to avoid legal hot water concerning how you interact with your renters.
Get Ahead of Vacancies
Dealing with tenant turnover is always a major hurdle for landlords. Despite your best efforts, there's always a chance you will lose tenants due to circumstances beyond your control. Be ready for this by having your advertising game ready to go! It also helps to work with an expert in this department to learn more about tools that will keep your Washington DC rentals fully occupied.
Diversify Your Portfolio
There's a small silver lining for landlords during times when the economy—and especially the housing market—takes a hit. While we never applaud a recession, there is comfort for landlords in knowing that people always need a place to live. When fewer people can afford to buy a home, they're more likely to rent.
For landlords, having a portfolio that includes a diverse range of different properties puts you in a position to rent out to more tenants at a time when housing is in demand.
Build Cash Reserves
It's always good to have a nest egg to fall back on. This becomes all the more clear when a recession threatens, but you should be working on building up some financial security before the worst happens. Cash reserves will give you some cushion when your tenants can't pay rent, and also offers the option of investing in more properties at a time when prices are dropping.
Work with a Property Manager
A dedicated property management company can be one of your greatest resources in challenging economic times. Property managers take on all the day-to-day tasks associated with operating and maintaining your property, as well as working hard to make sure your business continues to be successful. Some of the jobs your property manager will do include:
- Screening potential renters safely and thoroughly
- Acting as a point of contact for tenant concerns
- Keeping units filled and avoiding tenant turnover
- Effectively and affordably handling maintenance and repairs
- Marketing and advertising your property
- Overseeing property inspections
- Managing rent collection and making sure rent is paid.
Perhaps the greatest benefit of working with a property manager is the peace of mind that comes from knowing your Washington DC rentals are well-cared for—and that you're not alone. You have back up! Our Professional Landlords have years of experience managing rental properties of all kinds, in all economic conditions. We've weathered a lot of storms—and we're here to help you weather this one.
To learn more about how our team at Renters Warehouse DC/NOVA can help, check out our free resources! We provide these tools to help you continue being a successful landlord in a recession. A great, generalized guide for approaching income during this time is our Collecting Rent in a Crisis Handbook, so we are recommending landlords start there!