Guest post by Lidia Staron

Rental properties are among the better investment vehicles in real estate, especially when you want to start a new business. Besides tax benefits and passive income, rental property investment will produce strong returns year-in- and year-round, regardless of what the market is doing. As compared to other sorts of investments, rental property investment can safeguard investors and their money, helping to supply significant income with little to no effort for years to return.

But what about the initial costs related to starting a new business or purchasing a rental property? Better yet, what are the long-term expenses that accompany a rental property investment?

Investing in rental properties is lucrative in some ways, but investors must understand the general costs of this endeavor. Alongside purchase expenses, a rental property will demand additional charges through its lifecycle. This makes it imperative for investors to know the “big picture” of rental properties, including the present and future costs related to starting a new business or rental property investment.

Here’s what you should understand about estimating expenses when researching rental property investment, so you’ll accurately predict the income and returns on any property.

Repairs & Maintenance

Maintenance and repair costs don’t hit you each month. But once they do, they will get expensive. Landlords typically do personal loans for fair credit for their budget between 12 to fifteen percent of the rent for repairs and maintenance. New properties probably won’t require significant maintenance, but you’ll need to replace every single component within the property over time. 

The higher the tenant turnover, the higher your maintenance costs are going to be. The long-term tenant who stays ten years probably won’t invite fresh paint and new carpets every other year. But once you market vacant properties for rent, often you would like to repaint, redo the flooring, and conduct other maintenance to draw in the simplest possible tenants. High turnover is one reason why landlords do not invest in lower-end neighborhoods.

Vacancy Rate

Vacancy rates vary by neighborhood. Hot, high-demand neighborhoods might see vacancy rates as low as 2 percent, while cooler, lower-demand neighborhoods could see vacancy rates at 20 or higher. It’s up to you as an investor to try to do your homework on any given neighborhood’s percentage before buying there and to incorporate it into your income calculations. Ask around among property managers and landlords who operate within the neighborhood.

Property Insurance

As a landlord, you should establish relationships with a minimum of two local insurance agents who work with investors in your market for personal loans for fair credit. Ask them about their policies: what different options cost, what they include, and what restrictions they impose on property types or neighborhoods.

You’ll develop a literal sense of what to expect to buy policies at different property price points. But you’ll always call up the agents for a particular quote before pulling the trigger on a replacement property. Of all the expenses you’ve got to estimate, this is often the simplest.

Property Management Costs 

Whether you propose to hire a landlord or manage your rentals yourself, you continue to get to budget property management costs.

Why? First, you never know once you will be unable or unwilling to continue managing the property. Second, it’s a labor expense inherent in owning rental properties. Whether you are doing that labor or you have a maintenance person, that labor expense is real. If you ignore it, how can you possibly compare your returns on a rental to passive returns on a mutual fund or REIT?

Travel, Bookkeeping, & Miscellaneous Expenses

The other expenses involved in owning and managing rental properties are smaller but no less real. If you self-manage, you’ll sometimes get to visit the property physically. It takes time to trace rents and expenses monthly. It adds time to how long it’ll take you to organize. Also, you feel the money you saved when filling small business taxes as an owner

Sometimes you’ll have to send eviction warning notices by certified mail or post them on the front entrance (or both). You will have eviction filing fees, maybe even attorney fees. You will have to buy protective, state-specific lease agreements sometimes.

Rental Property Investment Takeaways

In conclusion, you can predict the annual yield and income from a possible rental property purchase—if you get these numbers right. Get them wrong, and you’ll lose money. Some people make terrible mistakes in investing because they didn’t have the skill to forecast income and expenses accurately. It takes some research on your part to urge these numbers right for any given property.