By: Christel Silver Special to the Boca and Delray newspapers
Buying an investment property to rent out or converting your personal or vacation property into a rental property can be a great investment. But before you do this you have to ask yourself a couple questions.
Even if you enjoy getting your “hands dirty” and like to do the management yourself, you may not have enough time to take care of this yourself. Maybe a management company is a good way to spend your money. This is money well-spent if you do not want to receive phone calls in the middle of the night saying: “The A/C is not working” or “I have a water leak.” Most problems arise at an inconvenient time.
This is your first and biggest decision – Do you want to do this yourself or hire a manager? A good reason for hiring a manager is if you live far away, if you have more than one rental property, or you do not have enough time – but you have to have the money available to pay a manager.
A property manager can be a huge asset for you, besides taking care of the day-to-day managing responsibilities. They give you advice on the market like: Is the rent comparable with the rent in the neighborhood? Do you need improvements to receive the highest possible rent? How to keep the tenant in the property? They also will screen the tenants to assure a stable and positive situation.
But if you decide to do it yourself, here some issues you need to know:
Did you know that you have to keep the security deposit in a separate Florida bank account and let the tenant know where the money is deposited? Once the tenancy is finished, you have to return the deposit in a specified time, according to Florida statutes. If you are withholding money for repairs, you need to notify the tenant within 15 days. If 30 days are passed without notice, you have to return 100 percent of the deposit.
You need to know what information you are allowed to request from a tenant. You have to comply with Fair Housing rules. Do you now about the service or emotional support animal rules? Do you know the rules of your HOA or Condo Association about renting? Are you even allowed to rent out your home? Some Associations have rental restrictions. What are your rights to enter the property? Because the tenant has rights too! What requirements do you have to keep the property safe?
Another piece of advice would be to contact your CPA prior to making the decision to see whether the rental property is a good strategy for your financial health.
About Christel Silver
Christel Silver is a full time Broker/Owner of Silver International Realty servicing the East Coast of South Florida. Silver is a Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS), and a certified speaker teaching CIPS classes. She is the Global Ambassador for Austria and Germany in 2019. Fifty percent of her business is in the International arena. For more information visit www.silverhouses.com.