Whether you are a professional property manager, a serious investor, or a small-scale landlord, the success of your business revolves around attracting quality tenants. Properties won’t produce any income if they are not occupied. And, they won’t retain or increase in value if they are occupied by the WRONG tenant. Read below on how to attract and retain the best tenants!
Before you start thinking about tenant qualifications, however, you must assess the rental property. Most tenants are not expecting their next home to compare in grandeur to the Taj Mahal, but they do want it to meet basic requirements in the following areas:
- Safety – Is the property safe for any possible resident (or their guests)? Make sure you have a professional inspection done prior to renting, and document the results to prove that your home is safe for occupancy.
- Appearance – Before you rent a property to a tenant, ask yourself if you would want to live there? Has it been maintained inside and out?
- Reasonable rent – Make sure you price your rental appropriately based on its location and condition. Do some research or hire a local property management company to do it for you. Property management professionals understand the nuances of the local market.
Before you begin renting the property, document a consistent list of tenant qualifications that you’ll use to evaluate every single tenant that applies. Make sure you understand federal, state, and local Fair Housing requirements and comply with them. A fair application process lays a foundation of integrity for what (you hope) will become a strong long-term tenancy.
In this day and age, your opinion and personal judgement of a tenant is simply not enough. There are 2 reasons you need to implement a professional screening process with a reputable company, like ACUTRAQ: 1) because it takes bias out of the equation and provides objective data for you to base application decisions on, and 2) because a professional screening company has fast access to information like financial and criminal history, which is harder to obtain on your own.
Once you select a tenant, provide them with a warm welcome process. Make them feel like they made a good rental decision. Provide them with important information proactively! Create a system for managing tenant relationships that helps them understand your policy & procedures, meet your expectations, and become more educated tenants. One way is to create a tenant handbook that includes important details for their tenancy and is easy for them to reference when the need arises.
As you manage the property this new tenant occupies, continue to provide them with fair, reasonable care throughout their tenancy. Implement systems that address maintenance needs, inspections, rental contract changes, late rent, and more. Be as responsive as possible to the needs of your tenant. Remember responsiveness does not mean giving the tenant what they want. Being responsive means communicating well at every juncture of the relationship and keeping your tenants in the loop. Most problems are prevented, created, or solved through effective communication.
Finally, give your tenant a surprise every now and then. Reward them for being a good tenant by sending personal notes, remembering special occasions, and honoring holidays with a small gift. Do something unexpected every now and then.
Sometimes tenants get a bad rap in the rental industry, but the truth is that the whole rental industry would not exist without them. If you want to be a successful property manager, investor, or landlord, you must learn to attract, assess, choose, and retain the best tenants for each rental property.
If you would like help putting solid property management systems in place for your rental business, check out the resources at LandlordSource.com and sign up for our free monthly email newsletter, Professional Management Matters.
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