Book Review: First-Time Landlord by Janet Portman et al


This is a good basic book on renting a single-family home. It is well-organized, with references to more specialized books and online resources. It would be handy for anyone who is thinking of purchasing a home to rent, or who has a home that they want/need to rent.
The sub-title is a bit misleading. Many of the examples and equations provided have more to do with multi-unit properties. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but as an investore dealing in single-family homes, I know that I deal with quite different issues than an apartment owner. If the book really specialized in the single-family home market, it might be better to stick with examples in that market, or highlight multi-family investment properties as a contrast.
Throughout the book, there are “USA Today Snapshots.” I would have expected them to have some relationship to the text. Sometimes they do. In a section on pets, there is a graphic about pet owners.
More often, they don’t; they seem to be thrown in at random. In a section on relationships with investment partners, there’s a graphic about spouses who lie about finances. In a section on financing, there’s a graphic about joining a business association. Such slap-dash choices suggest that the editors made a decision that a certain percentage of the page had to be graphics, and then the layout artist filled in the spots with whatever was available.
I’m going to keep the book around as a reference work. It looks like a useful tool for a small-time investor.

This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers. ( )

First-Time Landlord: Your Guide to Renting out a Single-Family Home (USA Today/Nolo Series) by Janet Portman,  Marcia Stewart, Michael Molinski NOLO (2009), Edition: 1st, Paperback, 336 pages

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