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Resources for Prospective Landlords

I sent this information to one of my clients the other day, and thought it would be good to post on the blog…

I recommend that anyone thinking of investing in income real estate get educated on more than just the value of real estate. The whole experience will be more profitable and more fun if you think of it as a business and you learn the business. 

So, if you are planning to own and rent residential real estate, learn how to become a good landlord. Your life will be easier because you will end up with better tenants.   Here are some resources to help you with that:    

Classes:
I took the following classes when I got started investing in real estate:  

  • In Monroe, Washington, check out Sky Valley Community Schools. There are several adult education classes aimed to help you wiht real estate investing, including "Right Way to Invest in Real Estate" which includes info on lanlord tenant law, etc. This class is close to free (the cost goes to the schools, not the teacher).  
  • In Seattle (close to Northgate mall), check out DiscoverU. The class Landlording 101 is taught by Chris Benis a well known real estate attorney, who is also an owner of rentals. He also writes articles for the Association of Realtors and the Rental Housing association magazines.  This is a GREAT class and will prepare you for the worst possible scenarios. It might scare you away from real estate, but is more likely to just get you prepared to prevent the worst case scenario.  
  • More classes are also available through various organizations, a couple of which are listed below.  Check your local/community newspaper for more or check with your favorite real estate agent.  

Organizations:
I recommend joining one or more rental owner associations. My wife and I are members of two different ones. Along with education and networking, these organizations will typically help you with credit and criminal background checks.  

  • Rental Housing Association of Puget Sound – This is a large, well organized organization. Its main focus is Seattle/King County, but has also expanded into Pierce county in the past couple of years. They do a great job of representing landlords with city, county, and state government… including bringing legal action as necessary… something the individual usually doesn't have the time and finances for.  They also have a good education program… some free and some not free.  
  • Olympic Rental Association – This organization, based in Olympia, is statewide. We've not been members long, but it seems like a good organization, similar to RHA. Again, they offer credit checks, education, and even encourage landlords to help each other out with a 'vacation watch' program.

Good luck with your real estate investment endeavors

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