First Person: 3 Ways for Landlords to Save Money

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From an outsider's perspective, it may seem like being a landlord is nothing but pure profit. After you buy that investment property, all you have to do is sit back and watch the rent checks roll in. As a property manager myself, I know that isn't true. Whether it is mowing the lawn or repairing a leaking faucet, landlords have expenses. But those expenses don't have to eat into your profits. Here are three great ways to cut down on your costs and bring in more money every month.

Learn Basic Handyman Skills

I work with a landlord who hires someone to do every needed repair, even the small stuff. He once told me that he'd simply rather not get his hands dirty. Personally, I'm more than willing to get my hands dirty if it means I can save a few bucks.

In my experience, rentals need frequent repairs and you can save a ton by learning to do some of it yourself. For example, in my area a plumber charges $45 an hour to repair a leaking faucet. On average, the plumber takes two hours to complete the job. If you learned to do that task yourself, you'd save $90.

Hire Your Tenants

I manage two rental houses. For one rental, the landlord pays a lawn care company to cut the grass and trim the hedges twice a month, which costs $80 a month. In the other rental, another landlord offered to lower the tenant's rent if he would cut the grass. The second landlord deducts $50 a month from the tenant's rent and saves $30.

The bottom line - if you're paying for a routine maintenance service like lawn or pool care, try and make a deal with one of your tenants. Many tenants are happy to do the job if it means cheaper rent and will often work cheaper than the professionals.

Skip Services You Don't Need

Finally, don't pay for any service you don't need. In my experience, some new landlords overthink the rental business, or rather they just assume they'll need all sorts of assistance - everything from a real estate agent, to a web design professional, to a full time maintenance worker.

Once a year, go through the businesses you contract work too and see what is really worth it and what isn't. If you're not getting your money's worth, cancel the service and do the work yourself.

*Note: This was written by a Yahoo! contributor. Do you have a personal finance story that you'd like to share? Sign up with the Yahoo! Contributor Network to start publishing your own finance articles.

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