Finally let’s talk about those questions that come up from your renters. This is a time to truly consider what the request is rather than what you as the landlord think the answer should be.

Be safety conscious. When our renter called to ask if they can install carpeting on the hardwood stairs going up to the bedrooms, I wanted to resist the idea of covering our lovely hardwood stairs. Then the safety first light went on in my brain, as I thought of the safety of them and their young children, who might slip on the wood stairs. When the potential renter called and asked if we would install a garbage disposer, we agreed even though it is not something that we use or want in our own homes.

What to do about pets? Should we rent to people with dogs and cats? We were fine with one dog per townhouse. We learned after giving permission to our wonderful tenants to add a second dog that two dogs seemed to alienate our neighbors in the townhouse complex, who had to listen to the barking. We also learned that our neighbors with young children are also a little uncomfortable with their children having to share the sidewalk with large dogs.

Being available and on site. Weekends in the summer we try to spend some time gardening in the yards so our tenants and the neighbors can approach us with their concerns.

Wow have we learned a lot. We certainly haven’t gotten rich over this exercise, but we have learned how to provide safe, attractive housing for good solid renters. And we have met and developed relationships with some wonderful people along the way, some who are now long time friends.

Maggie Finegan, ABR, Move with Maggie Chicago Real Estate Team