Managing your own rental properties doesn’t mean you have to do everything by yourself. In fact, the best way to scale your business is to build a solid landlord resource network full of trusted professionals – but knowing where to start can be daunting.
In this blog, we’ll explain the top four most critical people to have on your roster as an independent landlord.
The 4 Most Important Roles in Your Landlord Resource Network
Though the composition of your landlord resource network will be unique to your business goals, we recommend getting the following positions filled sooner rather than later.
From emergency maintenance issues to renovations, a good handyperson goes a long way when you’re self-managing your rentals. If you’re exceptionally handy, you may not need to fill this position right away, but it pays to have a reliable backup just in case.
How to Find a Handyperson
We’ve discussed how to find a good handyperson before, but here are the key points you need to know from our video:
- Do your research. Use sites like Yelp and Nextdoor to find handyperson suggestions, then Google potential candidates. Narrow your list down to two or three people, then scope out their websites and/or social media to get a better sense of who they are. You should first focus on a general handyperson with a wide range of experience, although it’s also a good idea to find reliable specialists like electricians or plumbers.
- Schedule interviews. Pick a small job that you’ve been putting off and use it as the basis of your interviews. Talk with each handyperson, ask about their areas of expertise, then discuss your project. They’re unlikely to give you a raw estimate without scoping out the work, but they could give you a ballpark figure. Follow up by asking if they’ve completed anything similar to your task before. Finally, ask for a few references – and actually call them.
- Get project quotes and scopes of work. You might be tempted to go with the lowest bidder, but big savings can mean big problems down the line. Instead, compare all three quotes and go with the person who seemed most capable, communicative, and fair.
- Have the handyperson complete the project. Consider their work, how much they kept you in the loop along the way, and how closely the quote aligned with the final total. If all went swimmingly, save their contact information and let them know you’ll reach out when you have more work.
2) Real Estate Attorney
Just like a handyperson, the best time to find a lawyer is well before you need them. Hopefully you never need legal representation, but if you do, having a real estate attorney is critical for protecting your rental business.
How to Find a Real Estate Attorney
- Touch base with your peers. Getting a recommendation is best since legal situations can be so nebulous and expensive. If you’re part of a local landlord group, don’t be afraid to ask them for recommendations! If you’re not yet part of a landlord meetup, we invite you to join our Better Landlords Facebook group.
- Talk to the other lawyers in your life. Being a lawyer is like being a part of a big club, so it’s likely that any lawyer you know may have a connection to someone who could help. Don’t be afraid to ask!
- Check out online legal directories. Sites like Avvo and FindLaw allow you to search for legal specialists and peruse their reviews.
- Ask your local bar association. This step is easier for people living in cities, but rural landlords should give it a try as well! Google your rental’s city and the phrase “bar association referral.”
- Give the American Bar Association a whirl. This association covers the entire United States, so check out their lawyer referral directory.
- Narrow down your list and ask questions. Pick two to three lawyers, then look through their reviews online. Evaluate their experience with local landlord-tenant laws. Then reach out to get to know them. Ask about their fee structure (is it hourly, a flat fee, or a retainer?) and general availability. While you exchange messages, pay attention to the lawyer’s communication style – make sure it aligns with yours! Then let them know that you appreciate their time and will get in touch if you need their counsel.
3) Rental Property Cleaners
Whether you need to turn over a newly vacant property or have a massive mess on your hands, it pays to know people who can make your rental feel like new.
How to Find Rental Property Cleaners
- Talk to your network. If anyone in your life currently uses a cleaning service, ask them about it! They don’t have to be landlords to give a great recommendation.
- Search online directories. Start with Angi.com and HomeAdvisor, then search for “move-in cleaning” or “tenant turnover” to maximize your chances of finding someone with experience in cleaning rental properties.
- Google “rental property cleaners in my area.” Google knows all, including how to reach nearby specialists. Don’t forget to look at reviews to narrow down your top contenders.
- Screen your potential crew. Once you have a short list of possible options, start reaching out. Ask about their licensing and insurance requirements, and don’t hesitate to ask for reviews and references. Cleaners worth their soap will be able to provide this information. Also, consider running a background check if you’re going to give the cleaners copies of property keys.
- Schedule a meet-up. Assess the cleaner’s professionalism, communication style, and understanding of your specific needs in person, if possible. If you’re a remote landlord, a Zoom call will work just fine! During this meeting, ask if they’re comfortable with a paid trial cleaning before committing to a long-term agreement.
- Outline your expectations. Make sure you discuss key management protocols to keep your tenants as safe as possible, along with your cleaning expectations (frequency, tasks, products, etc.).
- Discuss pricing. Ask about their pricing structure and request a quote. Gather at least two quotes before moving forward to ensure you get the best price and service.
4) Certified Public Accountant
A good certified public accountant (CPA) can mean the difference between messing up your books (and getting an unwanted call from the IRS) and building a long-term rental property business. CPAs are required to complete specific education, exam, and experience requirements for licensure – so they know their stuff!
How to Find a CPA
- Talk to your landlord network. Ideally, you’ll start with your local group since they may know someone nearby to help. But if you’re not in a local group, ask your virtual group over at Better Landlords for recommendations in your area.
- Scope out accounting websites. Check out the National Association of Enrolled Agents to find professionals in your area.
- Ask your financial advisor. If you have a financial advisor in your life, ask them for a referral. They may not know a CPA personally, but they’re likely to know where to find great ones.
- Research potential CPAs. Once you have a couple of names, look them up online. Assess their reviews, and check their credentials (CPA, CMA, or EA – learn about the differences here).
- Reach out to top candidates. Ask about their experience with rental property tax implications, their technology usage for secure data management, and their fee structure (hourly, flat fee, per property, etc.). Get a clear estimate for your expected services. Let them know if you use specific software, like TurboTenant’s integrated accounting tool.
- Pay attention to how they communicate. You need to feel comfortable discussing your finances and asking questions with this person, so keep tabs on how you feel during your conversations. Your accountant should empower you at every step of the way.
- Ask about their scalability (if you plan on scaling). There’s no sense in kicking off a relationship with an accountant if you plan to build out your portfolio beyond the scope they’re comfortable working with. Let them know about your aspirations, and see if they can keep up.
Remember, building your landlord resource network requires work and research – but having these people in your back pocket if something goes wrong makes it all worthwhile. If you’re looking for additional ways to set your rental property management business up for success, sign up for TurboTenant’s all-in-one landlord software. From finding your next tenant to collecting rent to streamlining maintenance requests, TurboTenant makes self-management simple – and creating an account is free, so there’s no risk.