New Landlord, Financial Planning Advice

Hello all,

I need some help. My father in law recently passed and left in his will his entire estate to my wife. We have hired a probate attorney to help us throught the probate process. However he lived in a side by side townhome which he owned and had a tennant in the other residence.

My wife and I have never been landlord and are overwhelmed with where to start. Would a financial planner be able to help with this transition? CPA?

Who would be able to help us understand the tax implications as well as set us up to be successful?

You don’t need a financial planner to become a landlord or to understand the tax implications. You described the property as a “side-by-side townhome”…do you mean a duplex ? Or did he own two separate units ? What state is the property in ?

You have to decide if you want to be a landlord. Its really not as passive as everyone makes it out to be. A lot depends on the quality of the tenant. Do you live local to the property ? Do you have a network of contractors to make repairs ? Do you have a copy of the signed lease ? Can you provide the monthly rent and mortgage along with the annual property tax, insurance and HOA costs ?

As for the tax side…a decent CPA can help you run everything through Schedule E if you need.

Yes it is a duplex. We are in the state of WI and are local to the property.

There is no current lease in place the the current tenant. The montly rent would easily cover the costs associated with owning and maintaning the property.

I am looking for resources to assist with the essencials of being a landlord. Creating a lease, background checks, insurance. Is there such a resource out there?


Bigger Pockets is probably the best place to start for a new landlord:

Yes, you should contact a financial planner. A financial planner can guide you through the transition of becoming landlords, and a CPA will be crucial for understanding the tax implications and setting up your finances for success. It’s a good idea to consult both to cover all bases.

I have talked with numerous financial planners and have found that very few of them understand physical real estate. Feel free to look at the various planning networks (Advice-Only, Garrett, XY) and you will observe the same thing…

I agree, the ones I have interviewed concentrate on paper investments. One reason for that may be the initial formal training and career paths that most financial planners experience in getting into the wealth management business. That training and experience rarely includes bricks and mortar real estate as an investment.

That being the case, I think a late starter who is new to the investment world might be better off getting advice from a fee-only financial advisor. Whether they decide to strike out on their own after that initial boost is their decision.

Notwithstanding a situation of personal disability or impairment, I would NEVER give a single individual the authority to manage my investments for me.

If I were you I’d go online or the library and read up on Becoming a Landlord (or that link above). There’s a lot more to it than the financial planning. For instance: how to screen tenant applicants without being accused of discrimination, how to evict someone properly/legally (there is a Wisconsin Landlord/Tenant law booklet that is really helpful), how written contracts whether month-to-month or an annual lease are your friend! etc.

One thing, you said the rent received covers associated costs, but…what if you didn’t have a tenant? Maybe the old tenant leaves it a mess or there’s major damage, then a month or two might pass while you fix the unit back up. It’s always good to have money set aside to cover it all in between tenants. If you can do repairs yourself vs hiring contractors is also advantageous.

We were landlords for a few decades and it was WELL worth it to us, a great way to diversify your assets/ portfolio/net worth, get tax wise/passive income, etc Educate yourself with what you’re doing and it could be great!

Hey OP - I’m sorry to hear about the passing of a family member.

I”ll echo that being a property investment owner, and / or a landlord does require weighting your long term goals.

From a financial perspective, start by considering how much the property brings in of PROFIT a month. If it brings in enough money to pay a property management company; that becomes a viable option to retain ownership of the property without being a landlord.

From a landlord perspective, I follow the below steps to manage my own 7 investment properties:

  1. I use Google Drive to organize all my lease templates, home description, pictures
  2. I use to perform tenant screening, background and credit checks, and manage all payments, expenses for tax purposes, and maintenance requests.

I al NOT an accountant, but i do my taxes for all 7 investment properties. What i can share is this, I also had plans on talking about tax implications, but haven’t created that video yet! What’s important to know at a high level is that a rental property can lower your taxable income via:

  • mortgage interest paid
  • insurance and property tax paid
  • any renovations or repairs done to the property
  • each year the properties purchased price
    can be depreciated over a span of 27.5 years worth
  • any landscaping work

Im more than happy to share more specific on here if you’d like! Ill also share my YouTube channel where I show how i accomplish the best experience possible for both the renter and myself (the landlord and property manager)

Landlords and Renters