Whether you are a property owner or a property manager, the profitability of your business depends on finding good tenants that will stay for years. Looking around for new tenants and having long and frequent vacant periods can reduce your income and drain your profits. So, you must make efforts to select the right tenant - one that pays the rent on time, takes good care of the property and is no trouble for you and for the neighbors.
Looking for tenants should never be taken lightly in fact experts feel that tenant selection is an art that one needs to master. Naive landlords simply select their tenant by the amount their tenants are ready to pay. However, this might lead one to have unwanted tenants and also ones who would not stay there for a long time. The following principles can help you select the best tenants for your property that are likely to stay for long.
Check whether the property makes sense for a tenant
Check where does your tenant work? Do they have children? How would the children go to school, if there isn’t any nearby school? If your area is congested, then your tenant could face parking problems. Put yourself in the shoes of the tenant and see if this property makes sense to you.
Give all the details to your tenant
If your tenant asks questions like how far is the grocery store or are there any party places nearby, give them an honest answer. If the tenant is required to pay for the utility bills then give him an accurate estimate. Do not lower the utility cost as it might only increase uncertainty. Hiding things or camouflaging figures will not prove to be beneficial in the long run.
Beautify your property
When you decide to let out your property, don't take its upkeep for granted. If you want your property to attract good people you need to make efforts to make it look beautiful. Give your home a fresh coat of paint and be sure that you get any type of repair work done. You might also want to change some of the fittings. These minor addition and alteration in your home will also help you in getting a good rent.
Be a good listener
Lend your ears to your tenant. Answer all queries to the best of your abilities. Listening to your tenant also helps you in understanding the nature of your tenants. If they say negative things about the previous landlord, find too many faults in your property or make a lot of references to Residential Tenancies Act, then do not hesitate to tick them off from the list of possible tenants.
Do your homework on the tenant
If you have zeroed in on a particular tenant, then it is time to do a background check. You can call on previous landlords for verification and get an assurance that they pay rent on time and do not bother you with day to day nitty gritties. Also, find out their credit score and criminal background history.
Screen your tenants
It is always good to have a face-to-face talk with your tenant. While you should not be biased with their personal appearance but you will definitely get the vibes whether the person would make a good tenant. While you are screening a tenant do not hesitate to ask questions like:
- How long did they stay in the previous apartment?
- Did they pay rent on time?
- Did they take care of the property?
- Did they have good relation with their neighbors?
Verify their answers by having a chat with their previous landlord.
Advertising for Tenants
While advertising your rental property, do not just talk about your property but also describe the vicinity. For example, if there are good hospitals or schools nearby, mention it in the advertisement. Also clearly mention landmarks and connectivity to important places such as the nearest station or airport. So, only people who are comfortable with the property and neighborhood will approach you.
Be a Good Landlord
Just as you made efforts to get references from previous landlords on the behavior of your tenant and did a thorough background check, similarly, your prospective tenant may also like to do a little background check about you. So remember to have a good rapport with your previous tenants!
Listen to Your Tenants and Pay Heed to their Maintenance Need
While the tenants are responsible for keeping your property clean and safe, as a landlord you should also not ignore your duties. Be accessible to your tenants. Your tenant should be able to reach you immediately in case of an emergency and should be able to contact you for any repairs. Always, remember that by investing a little in maintenance of your property and looking after the repair needs on a priority basis will help you maintain good relations with your tenant and they will not have a reason to move out.
Have a Talk When the Lease Expiration is Close
Once the lease expiration nears you can talk to your tenants and ask about their plans. Ask tenants what they want and if they plan to leave find out the reasons for leaving your property. If it is job transfer or change of state or city for business, then of course there is nothing much that you can do. But if it is for some other issue that can be handled at your end then do go ahead for a negotiation as getting good, reliable tenants is not an easy task. In order to retain tenants you can offer cash discounts like on month rent free, a lease renewal cash bonus.
Evicting a bad tenant and finding a new one - both are a hassle and costly affair so it makes perfect sense to spend a little time and energy in finding a right one. And, if your efforts pay out and you find a good tenant do all that is possible to keep the tenant happy so that he stays for long.