Should You Become a Landlord?

Low prices and high rents mean that many buyers can immediately “cash flow” their rental property.


Protect your assets. "Don't assume that just because the rent check is coming in, the property's OK," says Prandi. Visit at least once a year. For tax purposes, keep good records on anything you spend maintaining the house, including trips to visit the property. If you live far away, consider hiring a property manager to tend to the home. Most charge 6 to 10 percent of the rent.

Pamper good tenants. Finally, if you're lucky enough to get model tenants, keep them happy, advises Taylor. Don't raise the rent a lot, for example, when you could build good will instead. "I give my tenants an anniversary gift," he says. That might include painting a room a color of the tenant's choice, or upgrading appliances. "You want to remind them this is a win-win situation for everyone."