Creating a good, positive relationship with your tenants is very important. Tenants are the backbone of a successful rental property business so building and nurturing that relationship will contribute to a landlord’s success. One of the best ways that I know to help accomplish this is to make your tenant’s life as easy as possible while they live in your property.
When it comes to “who should do what” between tenants and landlords, conflict often arises unless your expectations are clear from the start. Begin with the lease agreement where you can list things like the rent and when it is due, how it is going to be paid, late payment penalties, rules regarding guests, minor repair expectations and utility agreements. Review the lease with the tenant page by page and have them initial that they have read it and understand your rules.
Continue by leaving a tenant binder in each of your properties. The binder can include emergency numbers so that the tenant knows who to call for a gas leak or power outage. It should include yard expectations like lawn mowing and snow removal. It can also include a move out checklist so the tenant knows what you expect in order to receive their security deposit back.
Throughout the tenancy, there are lots of things you can do to make a tenant’s life simpler. Let’s start with the yard. If you want the yard to look nice and you don’t want your house to look like a “rental” – then make the yard very low maintenance. Apart from basic lawn mowing and snow shoveling, most tenant’s will not spend extra time on the yard. Let’s face it – it’s not their yard so there’s no pride of ownership. Not in my experience anyways. If you have to have any plants at all – make them perennials. Surround them with thick black gardening cloth that makes it hard for weeds to peek through and then cover that with rocks. Do the same around any trees. Providing a container of weed killer might inspire a tenant to use it but it’s not likely so try to slow down those weeds on your own. Another thing you can do is have a professional company come once or twice in the summer and spray the lawn with fertilizer and weed control.
Another handy trick to make a tenant’s life easier is to either install a keybox or put keyless entry locks on the outside doors. This will prevent you having to run over in the middle of the night (or ever) for tenant’s who have lost their keys. The code can be changed on the keybox the next day when you return the key and keyless lock codes can be changed with each new tenant.
These are just a few ideas to help you establish and maintain great relationships with your tenants. Do you have any other ideas you’d like to share about how you make your tenant’s lives easier?
This topic often comes as a surprise to new landlords. When they are trying to attract new tenants they think that low rent or other incentives will bring more prospects. The truth of the matter is that, low rent or not, everyone wants to feel safe and secure in their home. Especially when prospective tenants have children. Often times, given a choice between two rental units, tenants will choose to pay a little more if they feel their family will be safer in one unit over the other.
We live in a day and age where fear is very prevalent among us all. Our constant exposure to news stories and headlines coupled with the news maker’s focus on murder, violence, guns and all other manner of horrific death makes a lot of people very wary of the outside world. Things are usually not half as bad as we think but the constant focus on all the bad in the world leads us to believe that there’s evil around every corner. I could go on and on about this but suffice it to say, it’s only going to get worse as we are exposed to more and more ways to view this information. The silver lining in all of this is that it gives landlords a definite edge if they can dispel these fears by creating a secure living space for people.
So how can you set yourself apart and attract more tenants to your rentals, thus giving you more quality tenants to choose from? Start right in your ad, mentioning the safety and security of your house or building. Then make sure everything is in place to follow through on those promises. Have good strong doors, deadbolt locks, locking windows that are in good repair and extra reinforcement on ground level windows. Make sure hand rails are sturdy and put non slip adhesives in the bottom of your tubs. To ensure against fire, check that all smoke alarms are in working order, have any fireplaces inspected and take the extra step of providing a fire extinguisher. Make sure your property is well lit on the outside including motion sensor lights where needed. Add key locks to the gates in the yard.
Some of these steps may seem obvious and some might seem overboard but put them all together and they present a great picture to a prospective tenant. You are now a landlord that cares about their safety and you’re willing to take extra steps to show them that you care about their well being. When someone is out shopping for a place to live, seeing flimsy doors and windows and no attention to detail where safety is concerned, your place will look like a haven and a higher rent will seem trivial when a tenant feels like they and their family will be safe.
Do you have other ideas to make your property more secure? Feel free to comment on this post as I think this is an important topic and one that will be very helpful for any landlord looking to attract quality tenants.
New landlords often feel overwhelmed when they get into the rental property business. Buying your first property might seem like a challenge at the time but it’s a cake walk when you start to delve in to what it takes to manage that property. From preparing your property, getting your forms together, doing market comparables to set the rent, advertising, putting your filing system together, setting up your accounting and just generally reading up on all there is to know – it’s a lot of information! Ultimately though, the most important part of property management is finding the right tenants. If you are successful in this step, the rest of your journey will fall into place.
Tenants mean the difference between a positive, profitable experience and a negative, costly experience. Having a system in place to do proper tenant screening will help you find those gems that will pay their rent on time and take great care of your property. Here are some tips to help you become a better screener in order to attract a better grade of tenant:
Write a great, detailed ad. It all starts here as this is the first thing a prospective tenant will see when looking for a property. For example, if you don’t want pets or smokers, this is a great starting place to weed them out. You can also paint a good description of the type of tenants you are looking for by the types of amenities you describe. If you want a family you can talk about buses, schools and parks. If you want older tenants with no kids you can describe a more senior living area. The more descriptive you are, the easier it is to hone in on your ideal tenants.
Have a list of screening questions. After people have read your ad and decided they fit the bill and are interested, have a list of screening questions ready when they call. For example, how long have they been at their current place? Why do they want to move? Have they given notice? How many people will be living with them? These are just a start and there are plenty more you can ask but these questions will arm you with more information and make your decisions easier as you set up viewings to see your property.
Use customized forms. During the tenant screening process, the most important form in your repertoire is the Application Form. Don’t use generic forms that you find online, use a custom form that asks about employment history, rental history, and allows you to perform criminal and credit checks. If you have a prospective tenant that you want to consider renting to, get them to fill out this form in it’s entirety.
Do your checks! Sure they’ve filled out the Application form for you but the next step is the most important. Call their old landlords, verify that they have a job, do a credit check and do a criminal record check. Do these checks EVERY TIME on EVERY PERSON that you want to rent to. Looks and first impressions can be deceiving so stick to your system and you will greatly increase your chances of finding a good, honest tenant.
Thorough tenant screening isn’t always foolproof but it greatly increases your chances of finding stellar tenants. Experience helps this process as well and the more tenants you meet and interview, the easier it becomes and the stronger your radar is. Remember – stick to your system and don’t skip any steps. To your success!
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