10 Rental Property Purple Flags You Ought to By no means Ignore

10 Rental Property Purple Flags You Ought to By no means Ignore

What are absolute deal breakers in terms of a rental property? Technically, the reply is there are none—or simply about none. Each piece of property has a price. Though, as Brandon Turner famous about one deal on the podcast I used to be fortunate sufficient to be on, “…irrespective of how I did my numbers, in the long run I all the time got here again to they received to pay me about 15 grand to purchase this home.”

Generally that worth is unfavorable.

A greater solution to put it could be “main purple flags” in terms of rental properties. However earlier than we get to the record, a significant clarification is important. This record gained’t embody issues like “the HVAC is shot” as a result of that’s only a matter of what value to make a proposal at.

These are issues are structural in nature. And by that, I’m not speaking in regards to the precise basis of the constructing, however one thing that’s comparatively unalterable in regards to the property. A few of these issues could also be a minimum of partially fixable at an affordable value, akin to the purpose on storage. Others will not be, akin to the placement or floorplan. However these will not be objects you possibly can merely and simply add to a restore record and make them go away.

With that in thoughts, allow us to start our record: 

1. The Proverbial Conflict Zone

I wrote an article about methods to analyze the crime threat for a possible deal that I’d advocate studying to judge which areas are proverbial warfare zones. Moreover, I wrote one other article on why most buyers (and all newbies) ought to keep away from properties in D areas. The gist of it’s that properties in such areas will often price extra to keep up than the lease they create in. And the danger is way larger, besides.

Keep in mind, sq. foot for sq. foot, a brand new roof or furnace will price the identical in D neighborhood because it does in an A neighborhood. If the lease is simply too low, it merely gained’t cowl the price of such repairs. And add to this that crime is extra frequent in these areas. It’s going to take a very long time at $500/month in lease to cowl the price of an A/C condenser that decides to develop legs and stroll off. Tenants in these areas are additionally extra more likely to fall behind on their lease or do vital harm to a unit. Whereas there are many good tenants in tough areas, except you specialise in a lot of these leases, actually tough areas needs to be a deal breaker.

2. Horrible Colleges

Usually, horrible colleges go hand in hand with warfare zones, however no all the time. Some areas, notably densely city areas, have unhealthy colleges however some high quality areas the place most people who dwell there ship their youngsters to non-public colleges. Whereas I personally discover this dynamic to be tragic, there’s not a lot you are able to do about it as an actual property investor.

Dangerous colleges is unquestionably extra of a purple flag than something that might resemble a deal breaker. However after security, an important factor folks search for when seeking to lease a property (a minimum of a family-sized property) is the standard of the college district. So hold this in thoughts. GreatSchools.org is an effective place to go to judge any given faculty district.

three. Homes With Solely One or Two Bedrooms

I hesitated to even embody this as a result of it’s completely not a deal breaker. However it’s price noting that one and two-bedroom houses will not be what any household is on the lookout for, so with a lot of these homes, you’ll typically have a extra transient clientele. Now, with some such homes, you possibly can add a bed room, which is usually a nice value-add. However with others, there merely isn’t the house. Small homes could be dangerous, and the tiny homes motion is simply too more likely to be a fad to be price investing in as rental property.

That being mentioned, I’ve heard of 1 investor who particularly appears for one-bedroom houses and rents (principally) to aged folks, and he does very effectively with it. For our half, we’ve got loads of two-bedroom homes, and so they just do superb. However you undoubtedly must know what you might be entering into with such houses.

four. Large Models

A three,000 sq. foot home doesn’t typically make for an excellent rental. Once more, this isn’t an all the time proposition, although. However for essentially the most half, the upkeep and turnover will likely be a lot larger on such massive properties merely due to the sheer measurement of it. Moreover, most individuals on the lookout for such a home will likely be patrons, not renters.

We discover our candy spot to be round 800 to 1,500 sq. ft for homes.


5. Large Tons and Rural Properties

I put these two collectively since they have a tendency to go collectively. Now, an enormous lot is an effective factor. However in case you are something too massive, particularly over an acre, I’d begin to get nervous. For one factor, that’s a whole lot of yard upkeep to take care of upon turnover. Moreover, most individuals don’t wish to handle such a big yard themselves, so you’ll flip off variety of potential tenants. Or you could get a tenant who merely gained’t handle the yard, after which you’ll begin getting letters from town.

Rural properties are additionally tough to handle since they’ll typically be far-off from you. I’m not a fan of rural properties normally (though, for some, I’m positive it’s a really worthwhile area of interest). However my recommendation can be that if you wish to spend money on rural properties, they make for higher flips than holds more often than not.

6. Any Form of Environmental Drawback

OK, one other main disclaimer—this could possibly be a goldmine for a savvy investor who will purchase what others gained’t. However in case you have poisonous waste dump or an underground leaking oil drum or the unit goes via meth abatement, except that is your specialty, transfer on to the following one.

7. Tiny Bedrooms or Kitchen

There are some cases the place you possibly can repair a tiny bed room or kitchen by eradicating a wall right here and including a wall there. However typically, there’s no economically good solution to do it. Some outdated homes are simply designed in a method that makes me suppose the architects have been on LSD—although that drug hadn’t even been invented when these properties have been constructed. I’ve seen huge and ineffective hallways connecting one tiny bed room to a different in a 1,200 sq. foot home with no conceivable method so as to add a 3rd bed room. It’s endlessly irritating.

Nevertheless it’s vital to notice that potential tenants don’t determine on which property they’re going to lease by plugging the facilities and specs right into a spreadsheet and working a logarithmic, covariate algorithm that takes the least-squares regression of the hypotenuse to find out the most effective worth. They make their selections primarily based on emotion and livability. Tiny bedrooms are an enormous turnoff for something aside from the third bed room, which is usually used as an workplace, library, or nursery. A master suite is a large plus, however the first and second bed room must be of first rate measurement (a minimum of 10 ft by 10 ft or one thing equal).

They usually say that kitchens and bogs are what actually promote homes. I feel the kitchen is especially vital, and a tiny kitchen that can not be expanded or opened up is a large turnoff. Not essentially a deal killer (keep in mind, each property has some worth), however it’s an enormous purple flag.


eight. Awkward Layouts

Are you able to solely get to the bed room from the kitchen? Is the one toilet proper subsequent to the kitchen? Are you able to solely entry the storage from a bed room? Is the one door to the yard via a bed room? Is the second bed room solely accessible from the primary (which, I ought to notice, means it’s not a bed room)? Is the one entry to the unit’s solely toilet via one of many bedrooms in a unit that has a couple of bed room?

Possibly you possibly can repair these issues by shifting a wall or whatnot. Possibly you possibly can’t. Should you can’t, that may be a main downside that significantly impacts the properties sale and rental worth. And tenants, like householders, typically don’t like awkward properties.

Clearly, it doesn’t imply the property is nugatory, however it’s one other main purple flag.

9. No Storage

Say you could have a three-bedroom, two-bathroom home with no storage, basement, or bonus rooms. That you must notice that the dearth of storage is an enormous unfavorable to potential tenants. Not a deal killer, after all, however a purple flag nonetheless. The perfect treatment, we’ve got discovered, is so as to add a shed within the yard. Each Dwelling Depot and Lowes promote such sheds at affordable costs. However that is an imperfect answer at finest. So watch out with a home that has no storage.

It’s safer to purchase flats with minimal or no storage, notably with smaller models, as 1) the tenant doesn’t want a lawnmower or something like that since they aren’t answerable for the garden and a couple of) it’s much less more likely to be a household residing there, so the individual seemingly has rather a lot much less stuff.

10. Native Governments That Hate You Merely As a result of You Exist

OK, which may be a little bit of hyperbole. Nevertheless it’s extraordinarily vital to understand how landlord-friendly any municipality you propose to purchase in is. Some cities require landlords to have annual property inspections, that are each costly and arduous. Are you prepared to place up with that? Different cities, notably on the East Coast, have eviction legal guidelines which can be so strict, it may possibly take three months and even longer to evict a non-paying tenant. I’ve even heard of it taking so long as a yr, particularly if the tenant is aware of methods to sport the system.


For a somewhat excessive instance, right here’s how International Property Information describes the eviction course of within the Netherlands:

“Landlords can solely give discover in strictly outlined circumstances, and this can be very tough for house owners to evict tenants as soon as they’re established. Solely the judiciary, and never the owner, can terminate the contract, and solely after the owner has given discover of from three to 6 months. The place the contract is for a set time period, he’s restrained from giving discover besides in direction of the tip of that interval.

“Restricted arrears in fee of lease are normally inadequate grounds for a rescission of the contract; solely an order for fee could be achieved. Within the case of arrears of as much as three months, rescission will likely be denied. Nuisances dedicated by tenants have a tendency to not be foundation for eviction; they are usually denied by tenants, and the court docket process is dear.”

If there’s anybody from the Netherlands who want to right me on this level, I’m all ears. However for now, I’ll most likely go on investing there.

On the identical notice, HOAs could be equally tough and anti-landlord in some communities. We’ve all heard of the petty tyrants which have rises to energy in some HOAs. Such properties are typically to be averted.


To wrap it up, it’s as soon as once more crucial to keep in mind that there actually is not any such factor as a deal killer. In any case, I for one can be prepared to purchase any property within the nation in the event that they paid me a billion to do it. However there are main purple flags that can kill most offers. When on the lookout for rental properties, the above record are among the large ones to be careful for.

[Editor’s Note: We are republishing this article to help out our newer readers.]

Which of those purple flags have burned you? Something you’d add to the record?

Let me know with a remark!


Realt Writer

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