A friend of mine recently took me out for some beverages at my local pub to tap into my years of experience about real estate investing here in Ohio. “Real estate investing,” I told him, digging deep from my well of wisdom, “is complicated.” Needless to say, he didn’t buy that round. 

But, getting into it a little more, I explained how it wasn’t as simple as buying a house, doing some repairs, and then selling it at a profit. Even if you make an “ugly” house beautiful, the market might not be right. It may not be the best time to sell. So, what then? 

One thing that you can do is learn how to become a landlord in Ohio. Having a stable of rental properties can build you a portfolio of passive income. You can either hang onto these for the long haul or sell them when the market is more favorable. 

You don’t need wisdom to know that this is complicated. But, if you have some knowledge of how to become a landlord here in the Buckeye State, you can weather some storms and come out ahead. 

Chicago Landlord Responsibilities: What You Need to Know Before Trouble Happens


What You Need to Know About Becoming a Landlord in Ohio

Becoming a landlord isn’t easy. Well, becoming one is easy, if you have the cash, but doing a good job and seeing decent returns isn’t easy. It takes research and work. Here’s how you go about it.

Step 1: Know Where To Invest

Luckily, Ohio is a good state in which to be a landlord. You have a lot of colleges, which means that in towns like Columbus, Dayton, Athens, Oxford, and many more, there are always going to be students looking to rent out houses. 

It’s more than that, though. The industrial cities—including Cincinnati—are full of people coming in for work but not quite looking to buy. This is true for more blue-collar workforces and for growing tech sectors, making Cleveland real estate investing a good bet right now. Folks can’t or don’t want to put down roots. That gives you a lot of opportunities in addition to the student-saturated rental markets. 

But, you have to know the rental market in the area you plan to invest in. Otherwise, you could end up with an empty building. A local mentor can help you understand whether a deal in any particular area holds solid potential or not. 

Step 2: Understand Your Legal Responsibilities

Before becoming a landlord in Ohio check with your local and state ordinances to understand your legal responsibilities. If you don’t understand the law and aren’t able to fulfill your obligations, you could find yourself in a lot of hot water. 

Some of these landlord responsibilities include:

  • Staying in compliance with all regulations
  • Respecting the privacy of your tenants
  • Making sure you make all statutory and reasonable upgrades
  • Following security deposit limits and return laws
  • Having all proper legal documentation
  • Complying with all eviction regulations and standards

If you run afoul of any of these, you might have to pay—literally.

Step 3: Research Different Financial Incentives

Owning a property isn’t just a matter of getting rent paid, kicking back, and relaxing. There are potentially also important tax benefits for investment property

Being an Ohio landlord gives you a lot of chances for potential write-offs. You might be able to deduct mortgage interest from your loan since your property is becoming more productive. And, money that you spend on improvements may be deductible as well. 

Now, Ohio has tax benefits, but so do certain municipalities, especially ones that are trying to attract young people with disposable income in the hopes that 1) they’ll spend it, and; 2) they’ll eventually settle down and buy. So check which cities offer breaks and incentives to own rental properties. 

Step 4: Research zoning laws

Laws are changing in the era of Airbnb, but not every house can be rented—indeed, some laws are more strict because of Airbnb. Many cities already have regulations that prevent houses from being rented in certain areas because they don’t want people to come without settling. Make sure you check zoning laws before you buy a rental that can’t legally be rented.  

Step 5: Have a work crew ready in advance

Chances are, you don’t know how to do every single thing your property needs to be up to code and ready for renters. And, even if you do, you might not be able to do everything yourself. Make sure you have an insured contractor ready to work so that you aren’t sitting around waiting to get the house ready. Having people you trust saves you time, and in this game, every wasted day is a wasted dollar. 

Step 6: Find the Right Properties

You know where to look, and why. You know what you have to do. So, now what it takes is finding the right properties. That’s a big step. Luckily, I’ll tell you how to do that, too. 

How To Find the Right Properties and Become a Great Landlord

How do you become a landlord in Ohio to build this portfolio of passive income? It all starts with good qualified leads. You could try to find an investment property through lead lists, driving for dollars, sending mailers, and all kinds of uncommon marketing ideas. They might work. They might not. 

Myself, I became an independently owned and operated HomeVestors® franchisee. Doing this gave me access to qualified leads across Ohio. You’ve probably seen all of the “We Buy Ugly Houses®” commercials and billboards. So have people across the state looking to sell. They contact HomeVestors®, and if you are a franchisee, you receive the customers’ calls directly. So, you’ll be able to find investment deals in the areas that seem right to you. 

Ready to become a landlord in Ohio? Request more information today to find out whether a franchise is available in your focus area. 


Each franchise office is independently owned and operated. 


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