Own Your First Rental in the Martinsburg, West Virginia: A Checklist

Are you thinking about buying your first rental property? Being a landlord can be a challenging experience and if done correct a very rewarding experience. There are many things to keep track of, and one mistake can cost you.

I have put together a checklist for the process of buying a rental property, the process of screening your tenants, and a list on how to manage once you are officially a landlord!

Purchasing Investment property in Martinsburg

Own Your First Rental in Martinsburg WV or Berkeley County WV – A Checklist

When You’re Ready To Buy

  • Have Your Finances In Order – You should know your credit score and tend to any negative marks before you apply for a loan. You don’t want to find out after finding your the perfect property online that you aren’t able to afford it. If using non-traditional funding sources like private money or hard money or HELOC loans. Under stand the costs and timelines to have access to this money. When it’s time to strike! You don’t want delays that will cause you to lose the property. 
  • Set Your Limits – What can you afford to spend? Don’t compromise here. Struggling to make your mortgage payments and other costs of business will take the joy out of building your rental empire.
  • Research – Talk to investors, read as much as much as you can, study your market’s trends, and consider buying a course. The best investors never stop learning. You can even tap into the local real estate investing group right here in Martinsburg WV. 
  • Take Notes – Take detailed noted of each property you see. Many people will use a chart to easily compare bedrooms, bathrooms, price and other variable features of a home. Don’t rely on pictures (although they will help you greatly when its time to do your research) Use a checklist to get all the pertinent information needed to assess cost and value. 
  • Hire Professionals to Help – A first-time investor should never navigate the process alone. Enlist the help of professionals to help you along the way. There are several really great Investor agents locally. Don’t use a regular residential agent. They don’t speak investor language like we do. 
  • Buy Below Market Value – To help guarantee a return on the property, you should try to capture equity at the point of purchase. Although markets are very cyclical in nature, the long term outlook over all is that real estate value go up. If you capture equity at time of purchase your mortgage payment will be lower, increasing cash flow. It will allow more exit strategies when and if you decide to sell.  
  • Calculate a Property’s ROI – To calculate ROI, the net profit of your investment is divided by the amount of money you have invested. The results are expressed as a percentage or ratio.
  • Use Rent to Price Ratio – Use this calculation to see if the property is even in the ball park of your investing criteria. Doesn’t make sense to waste a lot of time on properties that will never cash flow. 

When You Are Screening Tenants:

  • Advertise – Utilize the most popular sites, and make sure you have excellent photography and accurate property descriptions.
  • Provide Application Forms – Hopefully, you will get tenants who want to apply on the spot. Make it easy on them by having application forms readily available and the ability to complete it online.
  • Ask Qualifying Questions – Find out the basics about the applicant. Do their plans for a home match with your requirements? For my clients I have additional materials to help with this step if they desire to self manage. 
  • Background Check – Running a background check on prospective tenants is crucial. There are many services that can assist with this.
  • Credit Check – In addition, running a credit check will help make sure your tenant will be able to pay you!
  • Eviction Checks – Have they ever been evicted before! 
  • References – Thoroughly check all references provided. Get proof of income. 
  • Sign an Agreement – The agreement, or lease,  should be very detailed and leave no room for disagreements. Include your process for conflict resolution.
  • Conduct an Inspection –  Both you and the tenant should inspect the property (together if possible.)
  • Clean & Repair the Property – Any repairs noticed during the inspection should be made before the tenant moves into the home.
  • Change Locks – To reduce your liability and keep everyone secure, you should change the locks with each new tenant.
  • Final Steps – Collect deposits, rent, and provide keys.

After Your Tenants Have Moved In:

  • Tenant File – Create a tenant file with all the pertinent information. Keep track of all tenant issues.
  • Calendar – Keep track of important dates, lease terms, maintenance schedule. If you own many properties, property management software will help to keep you organized.
  • Stay on Top of Things – Keep the property in good shape and exercise a proper maintenance schedule.
  • Master Vendor List – You will inevitably have to pay repair costs and maintenance fees. Work with vendors you trust for maintenance, plumbing, AC repair, etc. Keep their contact info readily available.

Top Investor Agent in Martinsburg

Do you want to purchase a house for investment purposes? We can help! Send us a message or give us a call or text at [301-707-1678]

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