Southwestern Management And Realty Team

5 Rookie Mistakes That Could Put Your Rental Property Investment in Jeopardy

Being a landlord is not always a simple pursuit, especially if you are new to the real estate investing and renting properties. 

The key to keep your head in the game — and knowing how to avoid rookie mistakes.

Here are five of the biggest blunders that have put other first-time investments in jeopardy and nearly sunk careers.

  1. Underestimating Costs

Underestimating the costs of working full-time as a landlord is one of the most common rookie mistakes. It is always important to keep property taxes, repairs, and potential updates or upgrades you need to make in mind anytime you are searching for new properties or thinking of renting them out.

  1. Not Working With a Property Management Company

Landlords who choose not to hire a property management company are at a much higher risk of becoming too stressed and overwhelmed to continue with their responsibilities. SMART can help landlords find the right tenants while managing rent, late payments, and evictions if necessary. Having us by your side is essential as you continue to grow your investment portfolio.

  1. No Insurance Policies

Personal property coverage, and requiring renters insurance from tenants is highly advisable if you want to ensure the protection of any homes or apartment buildings you have invested in. Insurance protects you, as a landlord, and tenants in the case of an accident, fire, or other serious damage that is done to the overall structure, foundation, and the building you own itself while it is being rented out.

  1. Poorly Screening Prospective Tenants

Allowing just any individual to move into one of your rentals is one of the biggest mistakes you can make as a new landlord. Always ensure to conduct a thorough background check in addition to verifying the income of prospective tenants with their current and past employers to avoid problem renters and individuals who simply stop paying their rent altogether.

  1. Unknowingly Breaking the Law

Even once you invest in a property to rent out, there are landlord laws to learn about and to keep in mind when you want to work as a professional landlord full-time. Brush up on landlord laws to avoid breaking any privacy or tenant rights once you begin renting out your locations, which can lead to financial strain and lawsuits if you are unaware of potential consequences.


While you are likely to run into a potential issue at some point when working as a professional landlord, understanding the biggest rookie mistakes a landlord can make is a way to avoid serious hangups and letdowns. The more familiar you become with the real estate industry and market, the easier it is to prevent situations that are most likely to have a negative impact on your future and your ability to keep working as a landlord for years to come.

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SMART Rental Qualifications

The following are Southwestern Management And Realty Team’s (SMART) guidelines for renting a property through SMART. Each and every application will be reviewed by a member of SMART and could be adjusted depending on credit/income and the application itself. Please be truthful!

Rental Qualifications

  • Applicant MUST be 18 years or older and application fee is $65.00 per person and is non-refundable.


  • Minimum score of 650
  • No EVICTIONS in the past 5 years
  • No utility collections (gas, power, water)

Income Verification

  • Income MUST be 3 times the monthly rent for good credit 650+ and 4 times if applicant has poor credit but good income.
  • MUST be verifiable
  • MUST be with current employer for at least 6 months.
    **If self-employed—CPA financial statements and/or tax returns are acceptable.

Employment History

(you could be required to show proof if requested, paycheck stubs, etc.)

  • Verifiable employment history for the past 3 years
    **If self-employed/retired/not employed—can verify income with signed tax returns and/or bank statements.

Rental History Verification

  • Verify for the past 3 years
  • Must provide: Landlord Names, and phone number, email (if available) on the online application.

Criminal Background Check

SMART does check—Criminal, Sex Offender and Terrorist database

  • NO sex offenders
  • NO crimes—violent crimes, prostitution, domestic violence, possession of weapons or illegal drugs


MUST be 30 pounds & under & absolutely no violent breeds—ask SMART for the Pet Policy

  • 2 pets max
  • NO ferrets or snakes
  • NO Dangerous, poisonous or illegal pets
  • NO aquariums larger than 10 gallons

Emotional Support pets are NOT considered a Service Animal and not under ADA laws.