How to be a Successful Landlord

By CHERYL ROGERS
You may be eyeing your vacant property, expecting to turn it into a steady stream of rental income. But there is more to becoming a landlord than finding a tenant, keeping up with repairs, and paying insurance and property tax bills.

What you don't know can cost you, so decide how much rent to charge only after carefully assessing all expenses. Be sure to budget for those unexpected major repairs, like a busted central air conditioning system. Be sure to contact your governmental agencies and/or homeowner's association so you can budget for expenses they'll require, such as a rental permit, background check or sales tax on rent.

Be sure to add extraneous expenses like electricity while the home is vacant. It may be advisable to control mold and other weather-related damage. If you've been receiving a property tax exemption because the home was your residence, you should find out what taxes will be without that exemption. The difference may be significant.

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