The Screening Guy is every landlord’s go-to source for screening resources, information, and services that will keep them compliant and keep up their profits. But what if you’re still on the fence about becoming a landlord? If so, you’re going to need some basic information to make sure investing in real estate is right for you and ensure maximum ROI. We’ve put together this guide for first-time landlords.

Finding the Right Property

It goes without saying that this is the first move you need to make. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you look at potential local properties:


To attract your first tenants, your home needs to include certain amenities and features. Renters will take a look at the local area first, and then they will want to take a closer look at your property to ensure it has what they need to feel safe, secure, and right at home.


As such, you may need to make improvements to your rental. One project with solid ROI is updating the fence around your property. These days, you can easily find reliable contractors online. Make sure to compare ratings and reviews, as well as ask about special discounts and deals. Be sure to get quotes from several licensed and insured providers to find the right fit.

Repair Costs

Understanding improvement and repair expenses is another crucial step for ensuring a savvy investment. Additionally, you may need to factor in an average of $1,800 per year in maintenance expenses.


Getting a mortgage for an investment property can be tough. However, you have other options for financing your purchase, as well as any needed improvements, repairs, and additional upfront expenses. Whichever method you choose, have financing in place before you start looking at potential properties. That way you will have a solid budget to work with.

Attracting the Right Tenants

Buying and fixing up an investment property is just the beginning. Once you’ve completed the steps listed above, you will also need to use these insights to attract and retain top tenants:

Market Strategically

Just like any product or service, you need to market your investment property well in order to turn a profit. There are plenty of websites where you can list your rental, but spend some time identifying your target market (families, students, etc.) and getting plenty of quality photos beforehand.

Screen Thoroughly

Want to be sure potential renters are a good match? That’s understandable, but you need to be extra careful about screening if you also want to avoid breaking the law. Many novice landlords don’t understand rules and regulations around screenings, and they often end up in hot water. Give yourself peace of mind and know the basics of rental criteria and more.

Keep Up With Repairs

Planning for maintenance and repair costs for your investment property is crucial because renters will be more likely to stick around if your home is properly maintained. In most states, rental property owners are legally required to complete certain repairs and maintenance projects. A property manager can help manage repairs and related paperwork.

Owning a rental property can be a fun and very effective way to pad your savings — but only with the right savvy and planning. Hopefully, this guide has given you the information and resources you need to get started and to decide whether investing in real estate is a smart move. And if you need additional tips for protecting your investment and screening potential tenants, be sure to check out the Screening Guy’s resources and blog.

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