How to profit with rental properties begins with choosing the maximum rental investment opportunities. In addition, you gain higher profits by renting to the best tenants. Finally, your Return on Investments (ROI) depends on maintaining and protecting your rentals.

At Lafayette RE LLC, we want to help you attain greater profits with your rental property investments. That’s why this article makes simple profit enhancing suggestions to help you achieve your rental investment goals.

Let’s look at each of these suggestions:

Choose Profitable Rental Properties

You need to research what types of properties attract the best tenants. Studies show that single-family homes attract longer lasting tenants. On the other hand, multi-family buildings provide management efficiency which saves money. Which do you prefer?

According to Bigger Pockets, a popular real estate investing social network, “three or four bedroom houses tend to make the best rentals because they attract long-term tenants, cutting down on your vacancy expenses”. In addition, they are “generally the best kind of property to sell”. Therefore, 3 to 4 bedroom single family homes make a good rental investment.

On the other hand, according to the same Bigger Pockets article, multi-family buildings consisting of “two bedroom apartments are incredibly popular. Single bedroom and studio apartments tend to attract a more transient tenant with more turnover”. So, 2-bedroom units in the same building provide better management efficiency and long-term tenants than studios and 1-bedroom units.

Return on Investment (ROI)

Investopedia defines Return on Investment (ROI) as “a performance measure, used to evaluate the efficiency of an investment”. In other words, ROI forecasts profitability.

Calculating ROI involves determining the Annual Investment Gain minus the Annual Investment Costs divided by the Total Cost of the Investment. This results in a percentage or a ratio. Here’s how the ROI formula looks:

ROI = Annual Investment Gain – Annual Investment Costs

Total Cost of Investment

Total Investment Cost – Real estate investments require calculating several variables to determine Total Investment Cost. Purchase price, leverage (amount of money borrowed with interest), closing costs at the time of purchase and sale, real estate commissions and appraisal costs must all be included.

Annual Investment Costs – Annual maintenance, repairs, insurance, property tax, and advertising costs to find tenants must be added up.

Annual Investment Gain – Determined by the actual cash flow from rents and other sources like vending machines, laundry mat, etc.

Example of a Non-Leveraged Rental ROI

1. Determine the Investment Gain by calculating how much you receive from your rentals annually. If your rent brings in $2,700 a month for one rental, multiply by 12 months to equal $32,400 per year.

2. Then, add up the total investment related expenses for the rental. This includes taxes, insurance, repairs, maintenance, advertising, etc. Let’s say your investment costs equal $2,000 for the year.

3. Now, subtract the investment cost from the investment gain. $32,400 – $2,000 = $30,400.

4. Divide this number by the total investment cost. If you bought the rental for $300,000 the calculation looks like: $30,400 ÷ $300,000 = 0.101

5. Convert the decimal into a percentage like 10.1% which means you will receive 10.1% on your investment each year.

ROI Rate

According to Mashvisor, a real estate investment data analysis company, recommends at least 10% ROI for the U.S. real estate market in 2018.

The Balance, writing about personal finance for the past 20 years, also agrees that in 2018 U.S. real estate ROI “stabilized at 10%” for non-leveraged properties.

Screening Tenants

After choosing the type of rental property to purchase with the help of its ROI, the next step involves renting to good tenants.

Screen every potential tenant. Require a copy of a recent credit report. If the applicant refuses, don’t rent.

The credit report contains valuable data regarding credit history, unpaid debts, lawsuit history, bankruptcies, and a credit score which lenders use to determine creditworthiness. Forbes Magazine provides an excellent explanation of credit reports and credit scores.

You can obtain a credit report yourself on a prospective tenant. Provide the following information on a credit check application form:

  • Tenant’s full name;
  • Date of birth;
  • Social security number;
  • Addresses for the last two years;
  • Current landlord;
  • Current employer; and
  • Tenant’s written authorization (dated and signed) allowing you to conduct a credit check.

Obtain a credit check from one of the three Credit Bureaus in the U.S. like Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. Click on the links to find locations in your area. Credit reports cost around $15 each.

In addition, there are agencies offering tenant screenings for landlords such as E-Renter.com and Mr. Landlord.com.

Furthermore, you must follow the Fair Credit Reporting Act guidelines.

Always in Writing

Never rely on oral promises. Get all promises in writing, signed and dated by you and your tenant.

A written record of all promises you and your tenant make amount to legal evidence in a court of law (if it ever comes to that).

Full Property Inventory

Require the new tenant to sign and date a full property inventory of all included items to prevent theft and verify their current condition. This includes appliances, lighting, fixtures, furniture, and kitchen items.

At the end of the tenancy, the inventory list allows you to deduct the costs from the security deposit for repairing or replacing items. This saves you money.

Sensible Property Improvements

Maintaining your rentals makes tenants happy who tend to stay longer.

Periodic inspection of your rentals to detect potential hazards prevents personal injury lawsuits. Slippery stairs, missing guardrails, poor flooring, and unsafe electrical outlets invite personal injuries.

Avoiding lawsuits protects your investments and saves you money.

Protect Your Investments

Protect your investments with insurance. Comprehensive insurance covering all types of loss, defects, and hazards including lawsuits protects your rentals. Require your tenants to obtain renters insurance to protect them and yourself.

Know when to sell. Consult a real estate investment analyst to advise you about market fluctuations, upcoming market downturns, and other factors requiring you to sell to protect your ROI.

Well-maintained properties with good cash flow make selling for the highest price obtainable even during a slow market.

To summarize:

  • Buy Profitable Rental Properties.
  • Determine ROI before Purchasing.
  • Properly Screen Tenants to avoid bad ones.
  • Get Everything in Writing to prove all promises.
  • Prepare Full Property Inventory signed by the tenant to deduct all replacements and repairs from the security deposit when the lease terminates.
  • Maintain Your Rentals to make your tenants happy for longer-term occupancy and for higher sale value.
  • Protect Your Investments from bad tenants, lawsuits, and knowing when to sell.

We hope these practical suggestions help you to obtain higher profits from your rental investments